Skip to main content

Full text of "Letters and journals: Judge William Edmond, 1755-1838, Judge Holbrook Curtis, 1787-1858, Judge William Edmond Curtis, 1823-1880, William Edmond Curtis, 1855-1923, and Dr. Holbrook Curtis, 1856-1920."

See other formats



3 1833 0 

205 310 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2018 


E cL'rv'** O >\ !>L 

Judge William Edmond 

1755 - 1838 

Judge Holbrook Curtis 

1787 - 1858 

Judge William Edmond Curtis 

1823 - 1880 

William Edmond Curtis and Dr. Holbrook Curtis 

1855-1923 1856-1920 



N v. w r I* * 


Copyrighted 1926 
Elizabeth Curtis 
New York, N. Y. 



•» * 


In collecting these old letters, newspaper clippings and 
fragments of family tradition, my first idea was to make a 
sort of scrap book. The diversity of material, however, 
seemed to need welding together in more interesting form, 
so that I have tried to present a picture of life in old Con¬ 

Following the trails which lead back into “ the forest 
primeval,” we reach the first settlement of Hartford on the 
Connecticut River. 

The men who founded it broke away from Massachu¬ 
setts to avoid the incorporation of Church with State. This 
fact and also the superior birth and education of the pioneers 
may account for a more liberal atmosphere than is apparent 
farther north in the “ land of the bean and the cod.” 

On January 14th, 1639, a constitution was framed and 
ratified which gave a representative form of government 
to Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield. It was named the 
“ Fundamental Orders of Connecticut.” John Fiske says 
that this was the first instance known to history in which 
a commonwealth was founded bv a written document, that 
it made no allusion to the Crown or to any source of 
authority other than the three towns themselves, and that, 
in 1786, at the suggestion of Oliver Ellsworth, Roger 
Sherman and Samuel William Johnson, it was used as the 
model for the Constitution of the United States. 

When Governor Winthrop obtained the Connecticut 
Charter from Charles II in 1662 it “ only secured to the 
people what was already theirs.” Owing to the inclusion 
of New Haven as a part of the State, Davenport’s rabid 
Congregationalists (who, like those of Massachusetts, 

Note: In fact, as late as 1818 admission to the Yale Medical School was 
conditional upon baptism in the church. 


. . 

’ I ■’ 

j< .r;: to 'i: i > 1 j it:orru i-Mi 7 ! *' 

granted the franchise only with church membership) armed 
themselves and prepared to march upon Hartford. The 
prospect of civil war was happily averted by the necessity 
for uniting against the Indians, the Dutch and later the 
English Governor of New York. When, in 1686, Andrus 
went to Hartford to demand the surrender of their pre¬ 
cious charter, it was saved by Samuel Wadsworth, who 
blew out the candles, seized the parchment as it lay upon 
the table, and hid it in a hollow of “ Charter Oak.” 

Hollister’s History gives an interesting picture of the 
early settlers. One is apt to forget that the country was 
literally a howling wilderness and that the problem of forc¬ 
ing a living from the land to men who were often untrained 
to labor made a successful “ Planter ” the most important 
person in a community. Until after the Revolution, edu¬ 
cation and farming fitted together, but I doubt if college 
athletes of today swing a bat as well as their ancestors 
could swing a gleaming scythe! The British feeling of 
caste was shown by the use of Mr., esquire, and gentleman; 
while the sons of governors and magistrates were often 
addressed as “ Sir ” this or that. At Yale College front seats 
were allotted according to social position and the Curtises 
and Edmonds were among the elect even as late as 1820. 

In 1639, the year of the creation of the Plartford Con¬ 
stitution, William and John Curtis, with their widowed 
mother, Elizabeth, settled in Stratford. They came from 
Warwickshire, and a paper with their coat of arms is pre¬ 
served by one of their descendants. From the original in 
Heralds’ College, London, one sees that the names of 
* William and John Curtis go back for many generations, 
while the motto, “ Sapere Aude,” is most appropriate for 
a family somewhat given to intellectual daring. “ Cap¬ 
tain William Curtis, Esquire,” held various positions of 
trust: assistant, deputy, member of the “ Great High Com¬ 
mission ” and Captain of the forces of Fairfield County. 
He was also mentioned for bravery by Governor Treat 
and was one of a Committee delegated to select proper 
sites for the towns of Derby, Fairfield and Stamford. 


Among our other ancestors who ‘were fighting, law¬ 
making, and preaching at that time were: Richard Treat 
from Barminster, who was magistrate, assistant, deputy 
and a patentee of the Royal Charter. Edmund Sherman 
and his son, Hon. Samuel Sherman, magistrate, “ assist¬ 
ant ” progenitor of many distinguished men, and who 
boasted a line of royal descent. Governor Thomas Welles, 
whose family were supposed to come from Raynes Hall, 
Essex, and whose first wife’s name was Mary Hunt. 
Richard Deming, whose daughter, Elizabeth married first 
Nathaniel Foote, and second the already mentioned Thomas 
Welles. It is always a satisfaction when we find a wife 
who outlived several husbands, since in those hard times 
the husbands usually wore out a number of wives and had a 
dozen children by each! Another ancestress, May Black- 
leach of Hartford, had three husbands, one of whom was 
the Samuel Wadsworth who saved the Charter, but our line 
is through Captain John Olcott. Dr. Jasper Gunn was 
practising in Hartford at this time, one of the few doctors 
among our fore-fathers. 

There were also Richard Beach, John Birdseye, John 
Peacock (queer names), Richard Booth, Esquire, and 
‘‘Mr. Hawley”; Elder Brewster and Reverend Henry 
Smith; John Hollister, who was excommunicated by Rev¬ 
erend Mr. Russell of Wethersfield, but whose brother-in- 
law, Governor Treat, espoused his cause, and eventually 
drove the parson out of his parish. 

A picturesque character who came to Stratford at the 
same time as William Curtis, and from whom we are 
descended through two lines, was Francis Nichols, who, 
as he had been in the Royal Guards, trained all the militia 
of Fairfield County. Orcutt thinks he was an older brother 
of the governor of New York and through his mother 
descended from the Stuarts. 

To be thoroughly New England, one must have a 
witch in the background, and ours was Mary Baines who 
in liberal-minded Hartford was convicted of witchcraft in 
1662 and supposedly executed, since her husband remarried 




the following year. Her daughter married John Scovill, 
who came to this country from “ Whole Place,” Wessex, 
about 1655. There seems to have been much intercourse 
between the various settlements for they married wives from 
Hartford, New Haven, Stratford, Norwich, etc. They must 
have travelled by boat rather than horseback owing to 
savage-infested forests and boggy trails. 

At the time of the Revolution my great grandfather, 
William Edmond, was an officer in the Continental Army, 
as were my great grandmother Holbrook's brothers, but 
my mother's grandparents, the Scovills and Davies, as well 
as my great grandfather, Salmon Curtis, were Episcopal 

James Scovill, our great-great grandfather, who was 
fourth in descent from the witch’s daughter, was the first 
Episcopal minister in Waterbury and was ordained in West¬ 
minster in 1757. After the Revolution he took three ship¬ 
loads of sympathizers to Canada and founded the town of 
Kingston, near St. John. Here is a letter he wrote, in 1766, 
to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel which 
shows his feeling for the Church of England: and empha¬ 
sizes the need for an American Bishop. 

Waterbury July 8 1766 

“ Rev. Sir — 

There never was greater need of inculcating to the 
best advantage the important doctrine of the Gospel as 
taught in the Church of England, than at this day * * * 
Scarce any individual belonging to the Church having 
any share in the tumults and disorders raised by the Stamp 
Duty; but their quiet behavior hath subjected them to the 
odium of the dissenters, who are the governing part here 
and have the authority in their hands; and what will be 
the consequence of their enmity God only knows. * * * * 
I humbly conceive nothing can be done more conducive 
to the well-being of the Church in America, than the ap- 



pointment of Bishops to reside here.’' * * * In 1761 he 
writes “ My parishioners are now engaged in finishing the 
galleries in our Church, which they have almost accom¬ 
plished etc.” It was in this Church that there was a painting 
of himself followed by his nine Children opposite one of 
Noah leaving the ark with his. 

Rev. Thomas Davies son of John also writes from New 
Milford 1765* * * “ there is such a fermentation in the 
Country as though some mighty change were taking place ” 
— he, however, died before the Revolution. 

William Scovill, the grandson of Rev. James, married 
Ruth Davies, daughter of Judge Thomas Davies of Ogdens- 
burg, and the sister of Judge Henry E. Davies, Professor 
Charles Davies, and General Thomas Davies of New York. 
John Davies, who came to America in 1735, bought a large 
tract of land near Litchfield, Connecticut, where he built 
houses for all of his sons, including a church for his grandson 
Thomas who was a clergyman. The property was con¬ 
fiscated during the Revolution, and the church moved to 
Washington, while the family lied to Canada and later 
crossed the border to Black Lake in northern New York. 

John Davies, 2d, born in Kingston, Herefordshire, 1711, 
was an Oxford graduate whose wife, Elizabeth Spencer, 
when she first came over wrote back to friends in Eng¬ 
land that there were “ nothing but rattlesnakes and Presby¬ 
terians in Connecticut.” John Davies, the first, was the 
son of Thomas Davies of London, said to be the fourth son 
of Robert Davies of Gwysany Castle, near Mold, in Wales. 
Robert showed the family characteristic of loyalty to the 
established order by defending his house for King Charles 
against Cromwell's army. Gwysany is a beautiful Tudor 
structure standing in an extensive park with ruins of an 
older building near by. The family is descended from 
many interesting characters in history, the best, to my mind, 
being Richard Coeur de Lion. What a comfort it is, for 
an arrant coward, to know that a thousand years ago one 
was a marvel of courage! At the present time it is in 
possession of the Davies-Cookes, who refused to let me see 



io >uT Uriiu/fidd jj ai ynKayv/O .vrms a'ilswmofO Jenis^ 

it last summer because I had no letter of introduction! 
Fortunately I had gone into the beautiful old hall to write 
them a note and so had a chance to see the portraits, the 
rose garden, yew trees, and the park with grazing sheep. 

The third Connecticut Tory was Salmon Curtis, a 
friend of John Beach, the well-known Episcopal minister 
who was ducked in Newtown pond. Salmon Curtis had a 
lieutenant’s commission in the King's army but never 
fought, although according to tradition “ he was hunted like 
a wild beast through the woods.” His courting of Esther 
Holbrook, my great-grandmother, was done under difficul¬ 
ties. She was living at Oyster Bay, where the first settler, 
John Holbrook, had bought land about 1648, before he 
settled in Derby. Salmon Curtis often crossed the Sound 
in his boat to see her, and one day a party of Continentals 
arrived to search the house. Esther saw them approach¬ 
ing and quick as thought took her lover into the kitchen, 
put him under a large wash tub, placed another on top, and 
was very busy washing clothes when the soldiers entered. 
She gave them permission to go over the house but regretted 
that she was unable to accompany them. As soon as they 
had left, Salmon started for the shore to reach his boat, 
when to his horror, he saw the troopers returning. This 
time he crawled under a culvert, and they galloped over 
his head, after which he succeeded in making his escape. 

In one of my grandfather’s letters he describes the 
attitude of Captain John Holbrook, Esther’s father, who 
had no use for the Tories, and whose two sons were captains 
in Washington’s army. Salmon Curtis’ only son, Holbrook, 
married Elizabeth Payne Edmond, the daughter of Judge 
William Edmond of Newtown, who, with his father, Rob¬ 
ert Edmond, were ardent patriots. Robert was the son of 
Scotch parents living in Londonderry and he came to 
Connecticut in 1756.* He brought with him an exten¬ 
sive library for those days, many of the books still being 
in our possession, and, although the tenth son of a clergy¬ 
man, was educated and somewhat scholarly. William 
Edmond graduated from Yale in 1777. He married first 

*See appendix. 


nufi3i aioqooTf orb vr*i orf t wnoH zid a) norlw 

) norn k\ mg ! i / 

William Edmond 


Elizabeth, daughter of General Chandler, who died about 
1796, when he married Elizabeth Payne, daughter of Judge 
Benjamin Payne of Hartford. We have some colonial 
money signed by Benjamin Payne and here is a quaintly 
worded resolution passed by the legislature after his death: 

Hartford Connecticut 
“ Friday, 25th Jaivy 1782 P.M. 

The House in procession (with his Excellency the 
Governor and Honorable Upper House, Secretary, etc., 
at their head) attend the funeral of Benjamin Payne, Esq., 
Representative of the Town of Hartford, who was seized 
of a paralytic disorder last Monday morning, whereof 
on Wednesday evening he expired. Whose exemplary and 
useful life and conversation as an individual member of 
the community and approved fidelity in discharge of the 
important duties of the various public offices he sustained 
in church and state, rendered him dear to his virtuous 
acquaintance, and gave him a distinguished rank amongst 
the eminent patrons of the liberties of America and morals 
of mankind. Who though happy in a flourishing and re¬ 
spectable family, generously expended his benevolence 
through various degrees of agreeable connections to the 
human race at large, nor bounded his prospects of happi¬ 
ness by the narrow circle of the visible creation or the tran¬ 
sitory objects of time and sense.” 

The best biography of William Edmond is the follow¬ 
ing obituary notice. 

Connecticut Herald Tuesday Aug. u 1838 

“ We learn (says the Herald of the 3d inst.) that the 
Hon. William Edmond, formerly a Judge of the Superior 
Court, died at his residence in Newtown on the 1st inst. 
He was over 80 years of age. This brief paragraph is all 
the obituary notice we have seen of the Hon. Wm. Ed¬ 
mond— of a statesman who has filled a large space in the 

I :c l£3 > iu\ tj)U ari; \ I vwjs\ noijutoan h'bov/ 

aldsooi 1 b \o e mjpb etioiifiY rfguoidJ 

• : L. . 

j 4 ni L.£ on u £ ( oth gym). n;r.-j[ aV 

jrij ni 3D£qg ogitl ft ballft 8bH © rfw njsm 3 )k)8 f> )o — bnom 

councils of the State and Nation — of a Jurist who has been 
eminently distinguished both at the Bar and on the Bench. 
Where are his contemporaries in fame? Are there none left 
to do some reverence to the memory of as pure-minded a 
man as ever lived, now that he has gone the way of all the 
earth? Alas! of his companions but few survive, and they, 
perhaps, by reason of age and infirmities, forgetful of one 
whom they once so much loved and respected. It is believed 
Judge Edmond was over 85 years of age when he died. The 
writer of this became acquainted with him after he had 
advanced far towards what is ordinarily the end of life’s 
journey, but possessing still a mind of unusual power, and 
with all the vigor of youth. He was at this period dis¬ 
tinguished for superior intellectual attainments and for 
great purity of character. None stood higher in the esti¬ 
mation of their fellow men, and none have gone down to 
the grave leaving a more endearing memory behind him.” 

‘‘Judge Edmond graduated at Yale College in 1777. He 
afterwards came to the bar, and was an eminent practi¬ 
tioner in Fairfield County for many years. His name is 
associated as contemporary with Edwards, Ingersoll, Ells¬ 
worth, Reeve, Swift, Smith, and other distinguished 
Jurists of our State.” 

“ In 1798 he was elected a Representative to Congress 
from this State, the duties of which station he discharged 
with high reputation to himself and with singular fidelity 
to the interests of his constituents, many of whom still live 
to speak gratefully of his unwearied exertions in their be¬ 
half and for the common welfare. He was often a repre¬ 
sentative of his town in the General Assembly, and was 
a member at the session when the School Fund was orig¬ 
inated. He was also a member of the committee to whom 
that subject was referred. One party, as is well known, 
wanted the money supplied to the support of the clergy; 
another wished it appropriated to common school educa¬ 

“ He was a strong Federalist and not a democrat in the 

•Note. Judge Edmond secured the appropriation for the schools. 


I ’^lftffotib o ’ aoiv.n t > vv to eortwb y< j ?irf> moil 

rru dw oj »Wlfriffioo orij \o lydrrrem e air. r.n dH 6 jo.ii 

political sense. It is to Mr. Edmond and other such demo¬ 
crats that we are indebted for the present school fund, and 
not to the modern patent democracy, who have recently 
claimed the merit as theirs. He was chosen by the people 
in the year 1805 to the House of “Assistants,” a body of 
talented men, being the “ upper house ” of the Legislative 
body, and who also then constituted the Supreme Court in 
this state. He continued in this station until he was trans¬ 
ferred to the bench in 1807, as a judge of the Supreme 
Court, to which office he was annually appointed for a 
period of 12 years in succession, and until the reorgani¬ 
zation of the Court under the present Constitution of this 
State. (This was when the country went Democratic and 
Jacksonian and he thought it was going to ruin.) In the 
performance of his duties in this responsible situation, as 
in all others. Judge Edmond was an eminent example of 
unbending rectitude of mind. His associate Judges enter¬ 
tained towards him personally the highest esteem, and for 
his judgment the highest respect. His written opinions 
as published in our reports, are evidence of his being an 
investigating lawyer and a sound judge.” 

“ Nor should it be forgotten that the Hon. William 
Edmond was a soldier of the Revolution. He was in the 
battle at Fairfield (Kumpo) occasioned by the predatory 
incursions of the British under Tryon, where he was severely 
wounded in the knee, by a musket ball from the enemy. 
Let the writer relate an occurrence after the wounded sol¬ 
dier had been carried home from the field of battle. The 
authority for it was Judge Edmond himself some 25 years 
since. His knee was badly shattered by an ounce ball, 
and after some months had elapsed (nearly a year, if rightly 
recollected) the wound instead of healing was daily grow¬ 
ing worse; it had at length become so dangerous as to call 
for a consultation of surgeons. This consultation resulted 
in their opinion that he must have his leg taken off above 
the knee to save his life. This was announced to him: 
“ No,” said he, “ If I must die I shall die whole.” The 
faculty went to meeting (it was on Sunday) expecting to 


unvo nr, yd hytamds vlbfcd mw siv 

make the amputation on their return. The surgical instru¬ 
ments being left in his room, with the aid of a servant 
he opened the saddle-bags, selected the tools and com¬ 
menced operating. He had studied anatomy on his bed 
of sickness, and was already quite proficient in the science. 
He made incisions to the bone with his own hand, (his 
technical description of the operation is not remembered 
but in substance) he cut lengthwise and crosswise — lat¬ 
erally and diagonally — laid bare the fracture — took out 
a splintered bone—adjusted the knee-pan — removed the 
diseased portions, cleansed the wound in all its parts — 
replaced the flesh in its position, bandaged up his leg, and 
then quietly waited the return of his medical advisors 
from meeting. Upon examination of the patient and his 
proceedings their surprise was as great as the operation was 
successful. It is true he had a stiff knee through life, but 
his limb was saved. Fortitude, industry, and persever¬ 
ance were his prominent characteristics both in public and 
private life. His heart had ever been from his youth a 
home for religion and virtue, and he has gone down in a 
good old age to the place appointed for all living with the 
highest honors/’ Judging by this notice newspapers were 
no more condensed in style than the private letters of that 

In 1796 Federalism endorsed Washington’s adminis¬ 
tration which included the Jay treaty and Hamilton’s sound 
financial policy. It upheld the Central Government, 
against Jefferson and his followers who sympathized with 
the French Revolution. It was not until after the War 
of 1812 that the Federal party in Connecticut was forced 
out of power and Grandfather Edmond and Holbrook 
Curtis, his son-in-law, were always Federalists and Whigs. 
In 1833 when 78 years old William Edmond wrote a long 
and comprehensive letter about the national bank saying 
what we now know to be true, that Duane had been made 
a goat to save President Jackson's face, when he wished to 
put the bank out of existence. 

William Edmond’s daughter, Polly, who married Col. 


f Jn:*mcm/oO IflinroJ oifi bbriqu ll .yoiloq IfibriBnft 

ii)H HHl ■ O ? i;V; ,n'» ’ l 

b oi< taw luoimnno ) ni vmq ffirj yy\ 3rto iBriJ si8i lo 


• \J794\ 

Starr, was his only child by Elizabeth Chandler. By 
Elizabeth Payne he had first my grandmother who was 
born in 1798; Sarah 1800, who married Dr. Booth; Wil¬ 
liam Payne, a lawyer, born 1802, who died in 1829; Ann, 
1804, who remained single, and Robert 1805, a physician, 
who married Maria Livingston Delaplaine, of Phila¬ 

The letters to Polly were written w'hen she was at 
school in Hartford and later when Judge Edmond was 
in Congress in Philadelphia and Washington. If, instead 
of giving so much good advice, he had described the 
wonderful people then living, they would be of more gen¬ 
eral interest. The bits about the fashions, the mourning 
worn for George Washington, and Mrs. Adams’ virtues are 
the plums of the collection. Like Grandfather Curtis and 
my own father, he left his wife at home busily having babies 
and wrestling with domestic problems, while he dashed 
about on Public business and incidentally had a good time. 
The difficulty of getting servants, or men to do outdoor 
work in the country, is evident from the very first, and fre¬ 
quently Grandfather Edmond congratulates my grand¬ 
mother upon finding both “ colored ” and “ Irish ” in 
Watertown. That they had ideas of deportment and learn¬ 
ing, and that there was no lack of what we consider 
“ society,” although they had little money and few luxuries, 
one perceives from the following correspondence. 

Newtown, June 4th 1794. 

(Addressed to P. E. E. in her 10th year) 

Miss Polly Edmond, 


• The moment you break the seal of this letter, my dear 
child, and read the name at the bottom, you will perceive 
that your Papa has not forgotten his promise. He remem¬ 
bers his little daughter at Hartford — he reflects with a 
pleasing concern on her situation and deeply interests his 



heart in her happiness — he fondly hopes that a little time 
will reconcile her to absence for a few months from her 
Mama, and that she will be too much a woman to repine 
at her situation. Yes my dear, I know you will consider 
that nothing but the most earnest desire to have you im¬ 
prove in whatever can make you worthy of love and esteem 
could reconcile your parents to an hour’s absence. You 
know I have told you a hundred times and written in your 
little books almost as often, “ to be good is the way to be 
happy ” — be good, my dear, be amiable, and you shall 
be happy — happy as parents can make you. You will 
often think of Newtown — let that remind you of the rea¬ 
sons for your absence from home, and let no moment be lost. 

I need not tell you to respect Mrs. Caldwell and Mrs. 
Church, Miss Payne and Miss Patten — everybody will 
respect those that deserve it and I know you will love 
them. It will be your duty and interest to respect them 
— good manners require it from you, and let me beg of 
you never to forget it. Be complaisant and obliging to 
all — it is a tribute easily paid and they will reward you 
with their love. I hope you have too much respect for 
yourself to be a romp, and above all animals I hate a 
tattler. Let your secrets (if you have any) be sacred to 
the bosom of friendship — Maria is your friend, you may 
trust her, she loves you and will pardon little faults — if 
you conduct as you ought to do, I shall certainly know it, 
and it will give me pleasure. I shall see all your behaviour 
in my magic looking-glass as plain as I used to discover 
what you had been doing by your eyes — this magic glass 
is fastened to a little Bell that rattles terribly whenever 
you sit crooked, laugh loud, look sullen, behave rudely, for¬ 
get your courtesy, and the like. Whenever you forget 
yourself (but I hope you never will) you must think what 
a rout there is in my study. 

Your Mama will write to you about your mates — 
you must write to her and me as often as you can — Mrs. 
Winthrop will tell you all the news. The present of 



HKD u07 ec nollo 2R 3fri bnc isH o) slhvr j?urn uo^ 

\_ng 6 \ 

oranges you desired me to bring home I forgot in my hurry. 
I told them your request and they are much obliged to 
you. I have promised Miss Betsey Perry to make her 
amends at another time. Miss Flora's mother continues in 
a poor state of health, and I believe she will not come to 
Hartford. Be so kind as to present my best respects to 
Mrs. Caldwell, Mrs. & Mr. Church, Miss Payne & Miss 
Patten. I hope you are in health, be careful to preserve it 

— behave as well as you can, & you will have the best 
wishes of your Parents and Friends. 

William Edmond. 

In the time between these letters His first wife died and 
he married Elizabeth Payne Feb. 14th, 1796. 

Hartford May 15th 1796. 

To Miss Polly Edmond, 


My dear Polly. 

Your Mama and myself are both at the place of date 
in the full enjoyment of health, and only want to know 
you are partaker of the same privilege to make us com¬ 
pletely happy. I was extremely sorry to leave you behind 

— your company here would have been very agreeable, but 
when I reflect on the dangers you have escaped (as the 
measles are here and all along upon the road) and the 
very little pleasure election affords, I believe you acted 
wisely in consenting to stay where you are — for as it 
happened the rain has rendered the road as muddy as you 
ever saw it, and the poor deputies in their procession to 
the meeting house were forced to hobble along in the mire, 
very few ladies attended the service — there was nothing 
brilliant in the business — the music was solemn, and every¬ 
thing dull as you can possibly conceive, so that you have 
very little to regret in not being present. 

I have not yet seen Mrs. Church but learn that Mr. 
Church has not yet arrived from his voyage. The time 

:'tI; h> o' ■ ■ yr\ 3 j//38Uor ^nilwrn 3ni 

lud ibinrD .?i»v 11332 lay ion avsrt 

I J790] 

before we return I know will seem long to you; I hope 
however if the school begins tomorrow, as was expected, 
you will find your time as agreeably spent, and I am sure 
much more profitably for yourself, then you could have 
spent it possibly, amidst the noise, the tumult, and the 
smoke of the City. 

You will not omit any opportunity to improve your¬ 
self in singing—it is certainly an accomplishment, and 
perhaps you may not have another so good opportunity. A 
respect for your character which a young girl ought to 
prize as of infinite value, will preserve you from rambling 
if you reason on the subject, and a regard for your health 
(especially as your constitution is feeble) makes a steady 
regular behaviour of very great importance. A good report 
of your conduct on my return would increase both my 
affection and esteem. I cannot persuade myself you will 
forget for a moment to treat Mrs. Lott with kindness and 
respect and listen to her advice. Removed from all your 
relations, you have now an opportunity to act like a woman 
of sense and to show yourself superior to that little whin- 
ning uneasiness that too often sets little girls sobbing when 
they are out of sight of their parents, and cannot hold by 
the apron string any longer. My happiness on my return 
will much depend on the account given of your behaviour 
— we talk of you daily and shall rejoice to meet you. I 
shall write to you every opportunity I have and you must 
not omit to write to me by the post on Saturday as I told 
you. You must direct your letter to me as follows: 

William Edmond, Esq., 

Member of Assembly at Hartford 

When your letter is completed Mr. Mathew Curtis will 
be kind enough to give it to the post if you deliver it to 
him in season. 

My compliments to Mrs. Lott and all friends — adieu 
my dear child, be a good girl & Heaven will bless you. 

— William Edmond. 

P. S. Your Mama sends her love to you. 


ora oi om! iuoy mii/j nucn uoY 


[> 797 ] 

Newtown, July 29th A. D. 1797 

Dear Polly 

We received yours by the Post and were happy to hear 
you enjoyed your health, should have written in return 
but was absent when the Post passed through town. You 
make no mention of the six dollars I sent to you, of course 
suppose you had not received my last letter at the time 
you wrote yours, which by the by, you omitted to date. 
You mention our coming to Hartford. It is true we had 
flattered ourselves with the prospect, but a variety of causes 
have prevented us hitherto, and I begin to think will pre¬ 
vent us altogether. Among other things we have par¬ 
ticularly to regret your Mama’s want of health. She has 
been quite ill for about ten days past, but at present is 
somewhat better. Riding appears to fatigue her extremely 
and I am apprehensive a journey to Hartford in this hot 
season would be more than her present state of health would 
with safety endure.* I have been almost tempted on account 
of your Mama’s health to recall you from school, but were 
both loth to deprive you of the advantages you possess for 
improvement. Hope your attention to your studies and to 
your own interest will repay us for submitting to the in¬ 
convenience arising from your absence. 

I expect to be absent at New Milford next week — at 
Danbury at Court the week following. In the hurry of 
business perhaps I shall not write but you must on no ac¬ 
count fail to write to your Mama. It is what she has a 
right to expect from a daughter, and may afford her some 
little amusement in my absence. Your account of the 4th 
of July was pleasing. It is a day never to be forgotten by 
Americans, not merely to be remembered as a day of fes¬ 
tivity, but a day that should call to our minds the grati¬ 
tude we owe to the Author of all good, who enabled 
America to tear herself off from the British Government 
(of which we were before a colony) and by that means 
escape being embroiled in that affecting scene of blood 

‘According to another letter they drove in a “ chaise.” 


j - y, / tj : , ' [ fi rr ] r v ( * 

f “ 


and slaughter which for years past has disgraced Europe, 
and been the painful source of many a heartfelt sigh.* 
When you are older and begin to read history you will 
doubtless have a curiosity to attend to this subject. We 
expected you would have furnished 11s with further speci¬ 
mens of your drawing. It is a fine art and worthy a very 
particular attention. To imitate nature in her diversified 
production is next to possessing a creative power. A 
Mistress in this art with the help of a lively imagination 
added to a little industrv, and a few colors, may soon create 
a little wilderness of her own, and exhibit the beauties 
of May in the cold of December. Your dancing too I 
wish you not to omit. It is an exercise both healthy and 
innocent when reasonably conducted. Mr. Griffith ex¬ 
hibited his Ball on Thursday evening at Doctor Perry’s. 
I received a card and had the curiosity to attend. You 
would be surprised to see the improvement your little com¬ 
panions have made for so short a time not only in Dancing 
but particularly in politeness and good manners. There 
is no giggling, no romping, no rudeness, no coarse laugh. 
You would certainly have been delighted, if you have any 
taste for propriety, at the ease and decency with which 
every one conducted (except a few instances of crooked 
shoulders and stiff elbows which always happen in large 
collations). We had several country Dances &c. Miss 
Charlotte Booth and the Master gave us a Minuet — she 
is a fine girl — dances well — behaves prettily, and her 
modesty and good sense secure to her the affection and 
esteem of all of her acquaintances. Sally dances well, is 
very gay, but I do not so often hear her praised. The 
little Misses Julia Perry, Sukey Booth &c bid fair to rival 
several that are much older than they. The young Masters 
too deserved commendation, but 1 cannot speak of them 
all. When you return you may possibly, if a good girl, 
witness their improvement yourself. You will do your- 

* Note. The French Revolution which the Federalists disapproved and 
Jefferson extolled. 


ir P mu'mi ahull & oi b>bbK 

i ni roimfl* I'jrf 01 oiuooi oenot boog bria yjg:>born 
o 1 .b^imq i wi nallo o?. Ion o r 1 lud f yfi£ yiav 

1 > 79 -?] 

self the justice I hope to show the highest respect for the 
lady of the house where you reside and the Ladies who 
have the Care of your education. You will present my 
respects to them — to Mr. Church — Mr. Hopkins and 
friends. Mrs. Edmond unites hers also. Adieu, be a good 
girl & Heaven will bless you. Yours Affectionately. 

William Edmond. 

P.S. Mr. Jonathan Booth and family are well. 

(Excerpt) Philadelphia June 18th A D 1798 

Believing as I do that you need the articles you men¬ 
tion, and hoping from your behaviour you deserve them, 
it would be a pleasing task to me to supply them; the 
shoes I can easily furnish & the shawl if I knew what kind 
of a shawl you would choose — but with respect l to a 
bonnet the question arises how is it to be carried, to put 
it in a trunk is the only possible mode of conveyance & 
to press it so close as to prevent the clothes in the trunk 
from fretting must be fatal to it. Indeed write me 
how it is to be done. I think you must not count much 
on my bringing one. By the by, I do not recollect to 
have seen any pink, but thousands of almost every other 
color and striped & chequered as well as plain & I cannot 
say but in all the fashions that have been in use since the 
flood, or since bonnets were in fashion. If I should at¬ 
tempt therefore to bring one, you must hazard the chance 
of a man over forty happening to jump in judgment & 
taste with a Miss of thirteen; that there are handsome 
ones here (in my opinion) is unquestionable, but to say 
which of them is in fashion at this time would puzzle a 
wiser man than myself. 

I hope you will write to me next Monday for I sup¬ 
pose you will get this on Saturday, and tell me how you 
all are as to health, very particularly whether your Uncle 
Cyrus has been to see you about moving — how your 



oj gnimqqsri yfroi iv/o nsrn s lo 

abiiU iuo\ n xhciuDinnq yiov t rfilcori oj rut Ufi 



Uncle John's wife is, whether she has recovered her health 
— and particularly as to the health of Mrs. Mary Ann 
Nichols, if recovered or not. I heard yesterday that her 
husband was very lately in good health. You will also 
give me any other information you may have. Tell your 
Mamma she must look for me by the middle of July or 
sooner if the affairs of the Union will permit. I enclose 
you a Newspaper by which our friends will discover that 
an act has passed to put a stop to any intercourse with the 
French. I have written so many and so long letters for 
your last weeks entertainment; you must tell Maria to 
forgive my not writing to her at present. Give my love to 
your Mamma and sister and to friends. 

W E. 

N.B. David was well last Friday he tells me by a line of 
that date. 

Philadelphia Feb’y 17th AD 1799 

Dear Polly 

Your favor of the 10th instant was duly received on 
Friday. I shall not undertake to settle the question of 
laziness between you and Uncle David before my return, 
perhaps it would be safest for you both to settle that matter 
between you, and agree not to expose one another. You 
say that what you have spun in four days if made into 
cloth would make four yards of Diaper, if you proceed at 
that rate I think I shall have a most enormous bill to pay 
to the Weaver. I am glad notwithstanding you have begun 
the business, every woman not born to an independent For¬ 
tune ought to know how to spin & every other branch of 
business that is done in a family. Without this kind of 
knowledge, she never will be able to discharge in a graceful 
manner the office of a Mistress of a family, her servants if 
she have any will much despise and ridicule her for her 
ignorance. She will fall into contempt with her own house- 


‘jbnu Jon Iljsda I 

)n om Yc rn e avu! i [ Jnirfo 1 s!r>i Jfixil 

S ; rtourn Hi// m& ov«d rh 


hold 6c have the mortification to find her order perpetually 
contradicted or disobeyed, on the other hand if humble 
poverty should be her lot and that is a lot to which every 
one is exposed from a thousand accidents, how wretched 
would be her situation “ to labor and to spin she knows 
not and to beg she is ashamed.” How many thousands in the 
world who have been brought up with tenderness in 
affluence and ease, who considered themselves as “ lillies 
of the vale not subject to toil or to spin ” who on a reverse 
of fortune, have been forced to earn their bread by the 
sweat of their brows, and have exclaimed in the bitterness 
of tears — Oh! That my Parents had taught me when young 
to labor, that my hands might now in the hour of mis¬ 
fortune contribute to my necessities. 

As a necessary part of female education therefore I con¬ 
sider the art of the Distaff the buzzing wheel 6c the tory 
reel together with the noble science of Pancake and cus¬ 
tards. A lady delicately brought up 6c every way accom¬ 
plished except in the science of household concerns, if she 
ever happens to be reduced, will find more malice than pity 
with the illiterate 6c vulgar. The language of ill nature 6c 
of envy is this “ She is no better flesh and blood than 1.” 
“ She may work as well as I." “ She will now find what 

it is to work as well as other poor folks.” “ She will find 

something else to do besides priming before the glass. Let 
her sell her muslins 6c moraus, worse things are good enough 
for her 6cc 6cc.” And the moment she turns her back these 
ill-natured wretches will spoot out the tongue & point the 
finger of scorn. These things I have seen in my day 
and from my experience of the wickedness of the un¬ 
thinking multitude I wish my daughter so to be edu¬ 
cated, that with the learned she may be respected as a 
scholar, with the Polite, that she need not blush for her 
awkwardness with the Industrious, that she may be re¬ 
spected as useful in society, 6c with the illiterate and vulgar 
she may command their respect — with such accomplish¬ 
ments I would wish to see her mild in her manners, tender 


;.,•!$ j : $ ouyaoi oiii luo oq? Uivj m inters/ boiulKn-iu 

->ru orb lo e'djr b‘j;b // :>ri3 lo nonoiioqxo vrn moil bns 

iori ioI deuld ton boon o tlz isrb t oiifo4 orb rifiw ,TtI<xbt 

I \W9\ 

to the unfortunate, modest & unassuming with her equals, 
condescending to such as feel themselves depressed, ever 
ready to allow to merit its just value and scrupulously 
abstaining from censure & especially towards those of her 
own sex. 

I expect when you read this you will consider it a little 
like an old story or a dull sermon, that Papa is always 
preaching how he would have me behave. But remember 
my Dear your future happiness and worth can alone be his 
object; that while he wishes to see you virtuous, amiable 
and worthy he has not a wish to abridge you of the inno¬ 
cent amusements suited to the natural sprightliness of your 
age. Every thing I have recommended is perfectly con¬ 
sistent with a lively and cheerful disposition and can be 
no restraint to any degree of social vivacity within the 
limits of innocent indulgence — should it appear otherwise 
to you, look up the pages in your trunk and read them to 
Betsey hereafter when she is fourteen. 

Your Father 


Philadelphia, Feb’y 23rd 1799 

My dear Daughter 

Your favor of the 17th of February came safe to hand 
the 22d for which you have the thanks of a Father that 
loves you. Your Uncle David was right in his observa¬ 
tion that “ excuses were wholly inadmissable with me ” 
unless indeed they are of such a nature as to prove the 
neglect or failure unavoidable, and, even then they are un¬ 
necessary for two reasons, the one is that it is enough to be 
troubled with our own disappointments and perplexities, 
without being obliged to hear a long & pitiful tale about 
the hurries, perplexities & disappointments of others. The 
other reason is that where a true and genuine Friendship 
subsists, it is always presupposed, that the party never will 
forget what is due to Friendship or ever be guilty of any 


2 4 - 


.uov esvoi 

-nu 3 T/i ysdl s )t ; ima { b ,^ruoirtaM vniVia\ *xo 

[ /c u.'.t ?A »' O ■ , '(10* i I y/n l&l n& - Tin 

0799 ] 

neglects except such as arise from inevitable necessity. To 
begin to apologize therefor is always a confession of a 
u'rong or a jealousy, neither of which should ever be 
suffered to exist between real friends, for these reasons, 
My Dear, and because I wish that my Daughter should 
never do, or omit to do anything that would implicate 
blame or need an apology. I never am fond of excuses 
or apoligies. Suppose you had said David was in pur¬ 
suit of the ladies & you had a poor pen — the reply 
naturally would be, was there no other penknife in the 
neighborhood but his? Had not your Papa credit enough 
at the stores to furnish one? Or have you not skill enough 
to make one for yourself? After all your excuses then you 
see (if you had attempted any) you might not only have 
failed in your defence, but subjected yourself to the im¬ 
putation of want of candor, a crime of which I hope my 
Daughter never will be guilty towards any person breath¬ 
ing, much less toward her Parents. 

I regret most sincerely that your little sister* is unwell. 
I hope it may be nothing more than a cold, even that seems 
too much for such a little innocent creature that never 
thought of any harm in her life. I am sure you will pity 
her, and do every thing in your power to render her com¬ 
fortable & happy as possible. I am not anxious to have 
her go alone at my return or indeed before the weather 
grows warm. Such little creatures are so much exposed 
when they first begin to totter about, from the five and a 
thousand other accidents that it is scarcely to be wishes 
that they should walk before they begin to have some little 
reason to govern themselves. Give my love to her in a 
sisterly & affectionate manner & kiss her for me. 

The wood you received by the hand of your cousin 
David must be a source of consolation, if you have a winter 
as severe as it is here, for myself I never spent a more un¬ 
comfortable one in my life, there is scarce a clear sunshiny 
day in a week upon an average and you know how dull 

•Elizabeth Edmond. 

2 5 


uov io bnsrt *>r!) yd bsvmcn uoy boow 3il i 


weather affects me. What with a headache and face- 
ache I am under affliction almost half of my time, but I 
flatter myself with a release from this city in a short time 
6c the prospect of better days. 

I shall be able to account for the failure of a certain 
letter on my return, neither of you have guessed the reason 
of its failure. The prosperous state of Mr. Horton’s family 
I hear with pleasure. So many children if they live to¬ 
gether in unity as brothers and sisters ought to live, may 
be a source of happiness & comfort to each other, when 
the parents that now watch over them with the envy of 
affection, and tender care, are removed to a world of sil¬ 
ence and everlasting repose. 

• Four davs I think will be rather a short allowance for 

a 200 miles march in the beginning of March, when the 
roads in all probability will be horrid indeed. If however 
I could travel with a rapidity equal to my wishes I should 
not loiter for one night on the road, but 1 must stand in my 
lot 6c take a chance with my neighbors. We have already 
taken a stage to prevent disappointment, will have our 
tools packed & be ready to start when our service is ex¬ 
pired without beat of drum. 1 have almost finished this 
little sheet & shall not probably write you again from this 
place before my return. 

That you may be in all respects a good girl, enjoy the 
protection of the Father of the Universe, and the affection 
of those who set a value on virtue is the wish of a parent's 
heart. Give my love to your Mamma 6c to David. Assure 
them of my perfect consideration 6c esteem. Your affec¬ 
tionate Father 

Wm Edmond 

Saturday Feb’y 23rd 1799. 

Philadelphia Deer 7th 1799 

Dear Polly 

This comes to you as the slight evidence of the affection 
of a parent who wishes you happiness and future pros- 




iDfftfitf ^fsnoif 

1 / 700 ] 

perity. He hopes you will not think it unreasonable or 
improper, that he should require of you submission to his 
pleasure for a few short months, after he has submitted to 
the indulgence of most of your humors for so many years, 
during which time he has clothed, schooled < 5 c supported 
you. What he wishes is. simply this, that you would adopt 
such a line of conduct as is best calculated to establish such 
a kind of character as your reason teaches you would be 
most desirable to sustain, for you are now old enough to 
have some kind of a character of your own, < 5 c if you do 
not take some pains so to conduct, as to establish a char¬ 
acter yourself, the world will give one, whether you will 
or not, and very probably such a one as you may by no 

means like. Under fourteen the foolish speeches and in- 


considerate actions of a girl are in a manner overlooked 
& forgiven as proceeding from a thoughtless and playful 
disposition common to children of that age. But after 
fourteen the same actions which before that age would be 
pardoned as childish levities will then be censured as 
downright nonsense & folly, and charged directly to the 
score of a want of understanding, or in other words what 
might be allowed to be pretty in the child, will be justly 
esteemed silly in the woman, and it is the character of a 
woman of some sort you are now to sustain. There are 
some qualities annexed to the word woman, which are 
merely accidental and have nothing to do in reality with 
character, in the sense in which I am now speaking of it, 
such as a rich or a poor woman, a handsome or a hard 
favored woman & the like but there are certain general 
Epithets which go the whole length of a character. Such 
as a virtuous woman, an amiable woman, a vicious woman, 
an odious woman, which have no dependence on riches or 
poverty & but very little on personal beauty or deformity. 
Every woman must be ranked under one or the other of 
two heads. She will be considered as Virtuous or Vicious 
or Amiable or Odious in proportion as her conduct ap¬ 
proaches the one or the other of these opposite characters. 


2 7 

. 151 , ; i i a to J; nsl H// Jiii 0' r t »idw arrbiqLl 
now uobw jb v tt&ttto ,? Ofi ,iuvmcw iviomWVt js ?b 

[' 799 ] 

And the English language furnishes a great variety of 
words, or epithets, calculated to express the degrees, by 
which a woman rises to the full and complete characters 
above mentioned. If I had time I would give you a scale 
by which a woman is considered as ascending to virtue and 
amiableness or descending to vice and infamy — as this 

A thoughtless 



An Unsteady 
A rude 


hg‘ rl 


An Infamous 
An Idle 
A gossiping 
A Tatling 

An Immodest rwoman 

An Imprudent 
An Unchaste 
A Scolding 
A vicious 

Or this 

A careful 



an Industrious 

Discreet rWoman 

an elegant 
an accomplished 

All these you will perceive are qualities independent of 
rich cloathing or a pretty face. All the qualities named 
on the right may stick to a woman possessing both riches 
and regular features, while an unfortunate complexion 
may render itself entitled to the character on the left. You 
will be able my Dear I hope to improve upon these few 
hints, and after fully considering the subject I want you to 
send me an exact catalogue of all the epithets you would 



3 Sin 



jo tnsbmqabfli eoiiilj n.> ais ayixiiaq II ivA uo^ -jiDti) HA 

[> 799 ] 

wish to have your friends apply to you when they are settling 
the state of your Character, and also a particular statement of 
such part of your conduct since I left home, as you sup¬ 
pose will be good evidence in support of your deserving 
the epithets you shall chuse and such part of your conduct 
as may be improved by your enemies to fix upon you the 
odious character. B)' so doing you will turn your atten¬ 
tion to a subject interesting, very interesting to yourself and 
add to the pleasure of a parent that is sincerely desirous to 
see you amiable & to render you rationally happy. 


Kiss your little sister for me and be kind to her for my 
sake. She may live to reward your kindness & one day be 
your nearest & your dearest & your best friend. 

(Excerpts) Philadelphia Deer 23rd A.D. ’99 

My Dear Daughter 

I approve of your conduct in answer to the invitation 
you had, not that I at all approve of an unforgiving dis¬ 
position, or would be over punctilious where there was an 
apparent return to decency, but respect to ourselves and 
our character ought to be such as to teach others that we 
are not to be the sport of their whim & caprice and that 
friendship is too sacred a name to be violated upon every 
ill founded jealousy. 

I have written to David to be an Orator if he can, tell 
him if he undertakes it not to disgrace the subject. Elis 
language must be pure and chaste as the private character, 
sound as the policy & energetic as the sword of the citizen, 
the Statesman and the Elero whose eulogium he speaks. 

Congress have passed a Resolution to erect a Marble 
monument to the Memory of Gen’l Washington at the 
Federal City — to request his Lady and family to permit 
his body to be removed there & be buried under it — to 
wear mourning the remainder of the Session themselves — 



1 > 709 ] 

to dress all the ornaments in the Hall & hang the windows 
in black curtains — to appoint an Orator to deliver a 
Eulogium on Thursday this week, to walk in procession 
on that Day to the Church where it is to be delivered and 
also recommending to the president to recommend to the 
Citizens to wear a badge of mourning for thirty days 6cc 
&c — The ladies in the City have already many of them 
adopted trimmings recommended by the Queen — I would 
describe it if I could. Suppose the dress White, a black 
ribbon an inch & half wide to go round the body drawn 
tight a little below the swell of the breasts, another of the 
same width, to begin at the middle of the ribbon making 
an angle on the centre of the back just over the fold of the 
gown, where the ribbon that passes round the body passes 
under the folds, then carrying each end of the ribbon one 
over the right and the other over the left shoulder — bring 
the ends down on the side they pass over the shoulder till 
they meet the ribbon that goes round the body; or in other 
words fasten the last described ribbon by the middle on 
the centre of the back as low as where the other comes 
round & so as to make a corner, then carry one end over the 
right shoulder & down on the same side back of the breast 
to the other ribbon & so of the left so as to have 
the appearance of confining the arms back, on the 
bosom a bow of 12 ends of narrow black ribbon about half 
inch wide-—the cap a high crown made round with fold¬ 
ings from the border to the top on every side about 5 or 6 
inches high, drawn with a cord at theTorder and no rib¬ 
bon round the head between the crown and the border, a 
bow in front, on the top, and behind of black like the one 
on the bosom. This is one form only of a thousand, and 
there is no certain fashion, in this case the hair was down 
on the forhead like a child & below the cap border (The 
remaining lines of this letter are lost). 





(This letter is to my great grandmother Elizabeth Payne Edmond.) 

(Excerpts) Philadelphia Jan’y 7th AD 1800 

Dear Elizabeth 

The care of a woman that has children is certainly great 
and she that performs the task well deserves honor here 
and Immortality hereafter. Would children only know a 
Parents care it would seem as if they never would be guilty 
of subterfuge but confidence and plain dealing, my dear, 
are the most substantial evidences of genuine affection, 
sincere esteem and perfect love, though as you know I have 
never boasted much of either, but it is but justice to myself 
to say that in absenting myself because I believe duty and 
the good of my family require it, I do violence to the warm¬ 
est wishes of my heart — that is if the happiness of my family 
was not dearer to me than my own ease, or my own pleasure, 
a few days would finish our separation — I shall not have 
an opportunity this post to forward what you requested if 
practicable you will know by the next. I perceive that 
matrimony is still in fashion among you. Joy to them that 
win. Give my love to those you know I esteem & be 
assured of my unceasing regard. Yours as ever — WE. 

(excerpts) Philadelphia February 6th A D 1800 

My dear Polly 

A few days since I cast my eye upon an entertaining 
little story of a certain marble head, invented for the pur¬ 
pose of amusing the proprietor at the expense of the ignor¬ 
ant and the credulous. This Head by the management 
of the owner, was reputed to have the power of answering, 
with a distinct and audible voice, to every question that 
was put to it, without entering into a description of the 
manner in which the deception was practiced. I will 
only notice at this time, two questions that were put to 
this Head, the one by a single, and the other by a married 

3 1 

■ ic ii i odi lo aEnaqza aril ir icrtahqoiq art) ^nisurnc \o aeoq 


Lady, together with their respective answers. The first 
fair enquirer, led by what was uppermost in her own mind, 
and which no doubt stands foremost in the thoughts of 
many a pretty & many a giddy girl asked the Head “ What 
she should do to be extremely beautiful? ” received for 
answer “ Be extremely virtuous.” Satisfied with the answer 
she retired. The Matron then came forward, and very 
gravely enquired whether “ her Husband loved her? ” to 
which the Head replied, you will “ find your answer by 
observing his behaviour.” These questions to be sure, do 
not appear to be the wisest in the world, but I submit it 
to your own understanding whether there is not something 
worthy of observation in the answers. The first answer is a 
prescription which embraced a great variety of particulars, 
and which ought to be sought with industry preserved with 
care and found in the possession of every lady whatever 
may be her age, rank or condition in life. It is a prescrip¬ 
tion suited to every shape, every complexion and every 

With respect to the other answer as I cannot suppose 
you yet very anxious about the love of your husband, I 
would at present make no comments any further than to 
observe that the sentiments and value of a heart never fail 
to discover themselves more or less by the behaviour of the 
person; and if so propriety of deportment is essential to a 
good reputation. I dined last Thursday with the Presi¬ 
dent and his Lady. Mrs. Adams is certainly a respectable 
woman, had you seen with what ease, dignity and propriety 
she presided at her own table, surrounded by about thirty 
gentlemen, you would have needed no arguments to per¬ 
suade you of the value of such accomplishment and to be 
able to perform this office handsomely how much it adds 
to the respectability of a ladies character. To describe to 
you the fashions would be as impracticable as to reduce 
chaos to order, they are as changeable as a little girl’s wishes, 
constant in nothing but inconstancy, the leading features 
of the ton seem to be drawn caps with lace borders, that 



fieri] mlnui vnu sJirsKunoo on 3/iern Jnsesiq )fi bluow 


sit as close to the head as the bark to a tree, black velvet 
bonnets trimmed with furs of the same dimensions with 
the cap and front piece as wide as two fingers. This is 
ornamented with feathers. The want of sides is supplied 
by large black or white veils <Scc. Kiss little Betsy, my love 
to your ma, & be a good girl W E 

Philadelphia March 24th A. 

As I seldom visit farther than Congress Hall I should 
fail if I attempted to give you an account of the fashions, 
and indeed if I could it would be of very little use unless 
I could send a Miss and materials to put you in the ton, 
and even then I may much doubt if it would be considered 
as a kindness. Some of our ladies that lived in a famous 
age have been ridiculed by sartorial epithets for the enor¬ 
mous extent of their hoops. The Moderns seem to have 
fallen into a contrary extreme, the white dimities and mus¬ 
lins stick as tight about the heels as the nature of the case 
will admit, panniers or pockets are utterly denounced, the 
head is loaded with curls, close caps favor and feathers and 
enveloped in a slimsy vail, while the forlorn bosom is ab¬ 
solutely left exposed to the weather, without even a blush 
to shield it from profanation, and the same consequence 
seems to result in this case as in others, when a thing goes 
out of fashion, the art is almost lost, when Modesty is 
banished the blush takes its leave of the fair cheek, our 
Moderns therefore are desirous to substitute paint for those 
roses which nature denies them, for those games which in¬ 
variably accompany modesty and simple neatness. The 
painting and the display of such Belles are often arranged 
in magnificent order, and the Men look at them with the 
same kind of curiosity and with as little real affection or 
esteem as they would view the brilliant trinkets in any 
shop or portraits of any other monster in nature. Men of 
sense or women of sense are not captivated with a pretty 


[ i8oo] 

cap, a handsome bonnet, an elegant silk dress, a spun coat, 
a Macaroni hat, or a handsome walking stick, they look for 
other more useful, more durable, more endearing accom¬ 
plishments, such as wealth cannot purchase, nor poverty 
take from them. 

If a shoe pleased the taste, a cap delighted the fancy, or 
any other could excite solid admiration, a visit to the neigh¬ 
boring shops in a city would afford full gratification with¬ 
out the presence of the Belle or the Beau. In one shop we 
see brilliants and beads and buckles and diamonds and plate 
and fine swords without number — in another silks & satins 
without measure, in a third caps and shawls and bonnets 
innumerable, and in as many colors, shapes and fancies as 
would puzzle the whim of the most capricious for a choice 
and so of many other articles of dress. If one woman owned 
them all, it might purchase flattery, and command servants, 
but without some other charm, some more valuable requi¬ 
sites she could (neither gain nor retain if gained, either 
real love or solid esteem,) so incompetent are wealth and 
ornaments to secure the Empire of the heart or gain us 
one substantial friend. Who then that is wise would sigh 
for such baubles? and how contemptible those who give 
themselves airs merely because they happen to possess them. 
You will wonder perhaps “ why Pa writes all this to me.” 
I will tell you my dear, Because every Man and Woman 
that Makes a just estimate of Riches and ornaments will 
positively be both better and happier for it, such an esti¬ 
mate would perfectly cure the wealthy of Pride and Vanity 
merely because they possess riches, and teach them a due 
respect to the Poor, who happen to be their Superiors in 
Mental Talents, virtues and amiable Persoal accomplish¬ 
ments, on the other hand such an estimate would cure 
the Poor of a Foolish hankering for glittering baubles they 
can never obtain, and leave them to procure objects more 
durable, valuable and satisfactory. It would also guard 
them against the meanness of descending from the dignity 
of their own wisdom to flatter the Vanity or be subservient 


icnDqucS ibrh OJ naqqfirt onv/ /toon Dm oJ JosqaDi 


to the vices or follies of those who have no other preten¬ 
sions to superiority but their wealth, in short such an esti¬ 
mate that after a pure conscience and reverence to our 
Maker is the first great step to the threshold of Content¬ 
ment and happiness, and I would take my children by the 
hand and help them to ascend it in their early days, I will 
now close this long letter, and leave the remainder of this 
little sheet for vou to fill out with such observations as 


may occur to yourself and strike you most forceably in the 
perusal of it. 

Kiss the dear little Eliza (Grandma) for me, be to her 
a good sister, give my love to your Ma, be kind and atten¬ 
tive to her and be assured of the affections of a Father 


Wm Edmond 

Washington Nov 27th AD 1800 

Dear Polly 

Immediately after closing my letters of this morning 
to your Mother The House formed a procession with the 
Speaker at their head in thirteen Coaches & Flacks attended 
by a number of Gentlemen on Horseback 6c proceeded to 
the Presidents house which is about one and a half miles 
from the Capitol, when Mr Speaker delivered the address 
in Answer to the Presidents speech and received his an¬ 
swer, — after a glass of wine 6c a bit of cake with the Presi¬ 
dent we returned in the same order of procession back to 
the Capitol to proceed to business — this is the first time 
I have been at the Presidents house, and I would attempt 
to give you a description but I have no words, that would 
give you any tolerable idea of this superb Edifice, and if 
I had the narrative would rather have the appearance of a 
romantic tale conceived by an ardent 6c vivid imagination 
than a simple relation of facts, I shall therefore reserve 
the subject to some future evening when Providence may 
place me in the midst of my family 6c surround me with 


■'* : ' eawsat 

|j f- r '' ' • I'* . > 5 ■ •' j ; 

[/<? 00 ] 

the objects I hold most dear to my heart, a situation which 
to my mind has infinitely more charms than all the splen¬ 
dour and parade the world can exhibit. 

I should rejoice with you to spend the evening of this 
day in Connecticut and partake of the innocent recrea¬ 
tions customary on such a day — I hope you will not there 
be unmindful of the gratitude we owe to our Maker for 
his continual care over us and who u openeth his hand and 
supplieth the wants of every living creature.” You will 
not I trust even at your age be altogether thoughtless while 
in pursuit of innocent recreation yourself, of the claim your 
Mother and Sisters have on your company, your kindness 
and attention, in my absence and will no doubt remember 
how much more noble & even delightful it is to a mind 
susceptible of tenderness cv benevolence to communicate 
pleasure to others, than to be forever occupied in a narrow 
& selfish attention to our own pleasures and amusements. 
I hope you will exert yourself this winter to make home 
the habitation where innocence and peace are united; a 
mansion where content and happiness shall delight to dwell, 
and in so doing you cannot fail deeply to interest yourself 
in the best wishes of a father. Give my love to David if 
he is still with you. Betsy & Sally in your bosom, forget 
not that they are children, helpless, dependent—they may 
one day be able to return your tender offices, should they 
never, you will not fail of the supreme delight which arises 
from doing good. May Heaven bless you all, preserve 
your health, guard & guide you in the way you should go 
is the prayer of your affectionate father 

Wm. Edmond 

Give my Respects to Betsy Adams and to Friends — I 
expect Jenny is a very good girl; if I hear she is I will 
enquire for her sister. 

(Jan. 7 ioth-iSoi Omitted—) 


[iSoi ] 

(The first of this is omitted as it is another long dissertation.) 

Washington January 24th 1801 

Dear Polly. 

But I will pass lightly over a subject so unpleasant as 
to suppose any young lady who regarded her reputation 
would suffer herself to fall under such a reproach. These 
observations you may find elsewhere but here they come 
recommended by the affection of a parent who wishes you 
to become all that is amiable — the ladies who visit at the 
Hall are much more beautiful than any I saw at Phila¬ 
delphia, nature alone and not wash has painted their roses 
and their dress combines neatness, simplicity & elegance. 
Among the rest a certain Mrs Mason is considered a para¬ 
gon of beauty and to this transitory charm is said to have 
united that easy elegance and suavity of manners which 
joined to a polished and improved understanding is cal¬ 
culated to secure the admiration she at first sight inspires, 
her husband however who is a Man of great fortune is 
rather a proof of her judgment than her taste & had he 
been a prudent man in my opinion would have tarried 
with her at home, the attentions of the beau Monde which 
she cannot fail to attract may lead her to make compari¬ 
sons which can neither be to his advantage or her repose. 
Be true My dear to yourself, careful of your reputation, 
kind to your little sisters and Mama & you cannot fail 
of the love and esteem of a father and a friend 

W Edmond 

Washington Feb’y 22d Ad 1801 

Miss P. Edmond 

I received your favor of the 4th of Feby instant giv¬ 
ing an account of yours & Betseys return from Ridge¬ 
field this Day. I received at the same time your Mammas 
with an account of the family. I can easily imagine the 
difficulties you had to encounter in your return with such 


.. , 

vji bA bss doH V )TDKIH8aW 


apparatus 5 c such horses for sleighing as my brothers gen¬ 
erally keep, the apprehensions of danger expressed by your 
Uncle Stiles, I have no doubt were such as he felt for your 
safety 5 c not for his own, and which he uttered in the sin¬ 
cerity of his heart without once reflecting or suspecting 
that it was necessary either to suppress or disguise the 
truth by way of cordial to weak nerves — will you say he 
should have better known his company? I think not, or 
you would not say “ I concurred with him in opinion ”. 
In a case where both of you could see the real danger to 
have attempted to disguise it would have created distrust 
& increased your fears, had the danger been known only 
to him, which would you have preferred, to have him 
conceal the truth. 

(Some omitted and some lost—he continues—) 

but whether it will be possible to get from here 
under several days from that time, is altogether uncertain 
as I find on enquiry that every Stage belonging to the City, 
has been taken up some weeks since for that time in par¬ 
ticular—you will therefore have no occasion to be appre¬ 
hensive for my health or safety, in case I do not reach 
home within three or four days of the time you might 

The ground here is entirely free from snow and muddy 
in the extreme, but weather has for three days been pleas¬ 
ant and the lobby in Congress Hall crowded with beautiful 
young ladies—“ how do they dress, Pa? ”—indeed so vari¬ 
ous it is difficult to say. When I return, though I shall 
for want of terms be unable to describe, yet to your ques¬ 
tions I may be able to say aye or no 

Give my love to your Mama 5 c dear little Sisters—I 
shall rejoice if I find you in health to see how the little 
rogues have improved. 

It is not probable I shall write to you again before 
I leave this. Heaven bless you & make you all happy. 

W. Edmond. 




The following verses were written to my grandmother 
on her eighth birthday and although Judge Edmond wrote 
poetry all his life, these, with the few lines “ Advice ” are 
the only specimens which remain— 

How beauteous is the rosy morn! 

* Today's the day that I was born! 

For eight long years I’ve been a child, 

With trifles pleased, my actions wild, 

My thoughts employed on childish toys, 

My time all spent in childish joys, 

Great Power, whose universal care 
Thy Children keeps, O! hear my prayer! 

Teach infant lips, their Makers praise 
And to thyself, my reason raise; 

For thou art God, whose kindness kept, 

Me, while awake, and while I slept. 

Endow’d with health, or if in pain, 

Restor’d me to my health again, 

Thro’ many a danger to this day 
Upheld and watched my devious way. 

Be gracious still — enlarge my mind, 

For thou art good, and great, and kind, 

Preserve my life — extend thy care 
And let me live another year 
Increase in knowledge, all that’s good 
And above all, in Gratitude. 

December 16th, 1806 

Among my grandmother’s letters from sisters and 
cousins while in New Haven at boarding school, one finds 
many of the same names, as those in letters to my grand¬ 
father Holbrook Curtis who was twelve years her senior. 
These girlish effusions give a quaint picture of the young 
people at that time, who with all their conscientiousness 
and formality, were fond of gossip, flirtation and dancing. 


bn is moii ivMii aWDfftombnr.ia x fn &™>mA 


Newtown, Monday June 1811 

Miss Elizabeth Edmond, 

New Haven, Conn. 

What my dear cousin shall I say, that we are lonesome 
since deprived or your enlivening society? not, but that 
we have time for reflection allowed us, I should have often 
regretted your departure as a diminution to my happiness, 
but the vanity of numerous domestic cares have so occupied 
our time and attention as to prevent our feeling the loss 
of your own or Papa’s company as at any other period we 
should have done. We were a little disappointed at not 
seeing your Papa last Saturday as the day was so fine. By 
Mr R— we received a line from him requesting your 
Mama to forward by Mr. Botsford a few articles for your 
convenience at school, this was intended previous to the 
receipt of it. Do you wish to know how we succeed in 
domestic concerns? I answer beyond expectation with 
considerable fatigue, your Mama I fear feels the loss of 
your assistance that I endeavor to prevent by redoubling 
may own exertions — We have not had much company since 
you left us, my Aunts have not received as they intended. 
Mr. W. C. S. and Mr. B. spent Friday evening with us, 
M iss B Glover’s call here is the principal Tomorrow 
there is a party at Zoar at Mr. Curtis’s* to visit Miss Noyes, 
should I be one of the number you shall hear more of it. 
I will no longer let self engross my time, but tell you that 
your Mama is usually well. Sally enjoys better health 
than some time past. William, Ann, Maria, < 5 c little Rob¬ 
ert enjoy health and happiness. Should anything be want¬ 
ing let us know by your Papa or before. We wish much 
to hear, how you are situated, how pleased, what acquain- 
ance you have acquired. The family all .send love to 
your Papa and self. You are requested by your Mama 
to write by Capt B.— and send those articles you were 

* This was my great grandfather, Salmon Curtis. 

4 o 


. ij UOV Ibl tud il rai i >0*1289 1 3^ ?9l i9gno on iiiv/ I 
ih v.)d ior >d 87o|n9 llc2 .Hr// filBuau firnfiM iuo>( 

,l2Kq omit 9mo2 nsril 



requested to procure — Upon the chamber door in answer 
to a question I once made, if you would remember me after 
a short absence you wrote, “ Yes, yes, yes,” remember it 
now and write soon, my dear Betsey. Do purchase a quire 
of good letter paper for me or request your Papa to. 

In haste I must say adieu while I remain affectionately 



Do not tell me I have forgot how to write. If you can find 
good blk morocco shoes that will suit my measure do send 

a pr. 

Newtown 17th Sept. 1811 

Miss Elizabeth Edmond 
New Elaven 

Dear Elizabeth : 

The stage did not leave in season to send for you last 
week — Mr. Beach will call for you today. I think it will 
not be practicable, at least not convenient for you to spend 
another Quarter at New Haven at present. You will of 
course bring home all your things. I wish you also to 
bring an old hat I left at Mr. Ropetin in his South front 
chamber closet. You will call on Mr. Coleman for his 
Bill for board — & M iss Hotchkiss for hers for tuition, & 
Mr. Beach will pay him, if you owe Jenny for washing 
pay her — or any other Debt, you will see that they are 
all paid so as to leave nothing behind unsettled, also give 
my respects to Mr. Coleman & his Lady — to Miss Hotch¬ 

Wishing a speedy & safe return I am 

with affection 

W E 

Miss E. Edmond 

N B Mrs. Coleman will remember the price agreed 
for board was $2 per week. 



*i lodfnacnoi J&T 


Visa j 


Miss E. Edmond 

New Haven (From her Cousin Maria Hopkins) 

A moment only is allowed to say we are in usual health 
— and thank my dear Betsy for your interesting epistle 
by your Papa. I was delighted with your proficiency in 
the art of Drawing a specimen of which you sent Sarah. 
Continue my Dear girl to improve in this elegant accom¬ 
plishment but do not in so doing neglect those more useful 
branches of science, a close attention to which will be form¬ 
ing your mind and manners for future life. A small por¬ 
tion of which can be devoted to this employment. Your 
dear Papa mentions you felt discouraged in perfecting 
yourself. In this like every other talent you may possess, 
time and patience only are the two powerful requisites. 
And these you may have. Sally I think will go to N — 
with your Papa. Do write us immediately. By Mr. Black¬ 
man do send me a comb and will forward the money by 
your Papa. Your Mama sends love with the family and 
would write you but time is not allowed her adieu — Mr. 
B. with Miss D goes 


New Haven Oct 24th 1811 
Miss Elizabeth P. Edmond 

Yes my dear girl the receipt of your letter did indeed 
give me pleasure. I had heard something of your illness 
and felt anxious to hear again. I rejoice that you are 
recovering. I hope your health will soon be confirmed and 
I hope you will not forget the author of all your blessings, 
the giver of every good gift. 

Our friend Mrs. Coleman has a fine daughter and has 
given it the name of his first wife. 



.ciixsgB 01 ei/oi/.n* Jlo\ bns 


Their family has quite changed in appearance since we 
were there. Mr. Coleman is recovering and intends tak¬ 
ing a short tour soon. 

I have procured the muslin for your Mamma and am 
glad to have an opportunity of obliging her. I hope she 
will employ me again if she wishes any errand of the kind 

Miss Carpenter desires her love to you. My respects 
to your parents and love to sister Sally. 


Sarah Hotchkiss. 

Elizabeth dont let this first be the last letter I ever receive 
from you. 

Berlin June 1812 

Miss Elizabeth Edmond, 

Newtown, Connecticut. 

You will almost doubt my sincerity, dear Betsey, when 
I assure you of the pleasure I experienced in the perusal 
of your short epistle received by Mr. Gould when I was 
in Litchfield. But it was truly an augmentation of my 
happiness to hear once more from you all, notwithstand¬ 
ing I have so long delayed expressing my satisfaction at 
this unexpected proof of your affection; I was fearful be¬ 
fore, that your remembrance of me was nearlv extinct. 

Yesterday afternoon I took tea in Washington at Mr. 
Goodrich’s (this gentleman was the former minister in 
Ridgefield) when my cousins and myself were invited to 
meet Mrs. Cook of Danbury, on inquiry I found that your 
sister is now a highly valued neighbor of Mrs. C. As she 
leaves town tomorrow I determined to improve this oppor¬ 
tunity of a conveyance to you, by which I might avail my¬ 
self of many enquiries after the health and happiness in¬ 
dividually of each member of the family. 

I have narrowly escaped seeing your Papa several times, 


fl ‘ '■ I \ jiji PS 1 "'PS 

* '$ y' 

>tw I nodv/ blue ) -it/ J br/ir»i 3 :?iqu tioill luoy lo 


r___ \r 

mi s . .1 Maavr ir> m .r, m rnrlv (bbi sjbifl 


at the time he was in Litchfield last February, Catharine 
and myself were both absent 

How is your Mama's health now, I hope her cares and 
avocations are not so numerous as when I left Newtown. 
They were then too great for her constitution to bear with¬ 
out preying upon her health. I hope to hear she has some 
good hand to assist her in domestic affairs, who is capable 
of lifting her burthen. What are cousin Sarah and your¬ 
self engaged in this summer? Were you so well pleased 
with the school in Newhaven as to induce your Papa to 
place your sister there this season? 

. Cousin William I suppose has probably left you before 
this to pursue those studies proper for his age. The rosy 
cheek'd Ann Maria, and smiling Robert who come next 
in my list of inquiry I should rejoice to see once more arm 
in arm going to school, do they continue as formerly in¬ 
separable companions? 

I was in Newhaven in March and intended to have 
seen Jenny but after several enquiries I could not learn 
any information respecting her and the shortness of my 
stay prevented my devoting much time to a search for her 
abode. I hope your Mama has not relinquished the idea 
of visiting this part of Connecticut. She encouraged me 
with a belief that she should before long take this journey. 
Judge Reeve mentioned to me sometime since that when 
he saw you after your illness your countenance was not as 
healthful as formerly. I heard with regret that the ravages 
of disease had deprived you of that charming color, in your 
cheek that glowed and shown so fresh. But even this cir¬ 
cumstance to the mind of my dear cousin will convey a 
moral lesson on the frailty of external beauty. I hope you 
will improve opportunities to write me often, and cousin 
Sarah too, I shall ever be happy to hear from you all. Kiss 
each of the children for me and remember me affection¬ 
ately to your Parents. Often think of me as your affec¬ 


Cousin Maria. 

Note My grandmother was removed from school in New Haven because they put an 
iron dog collar on her neck to make her sit up straight, as she was very tall. 




Huntington, 1815 

Miss Elizabeth Edmond, 

New Town 

When I received your letter My Dear Elizabeth I did 
not intend it should remain so long unanswered but hope 
you will excuse me if I write one long enough now to make 
up for lost time. I have been to New Haven lately on a 
visit and spent three weeks very pleasantly. I saw your 
sister Sally frequently, she appears to be very well pleased 
with N Haven and I think she could not be otherwise. I 
called to see cousin Sarah Hopkins the first day that I 
heard she was in town but to my disappointment found she 
had gone home, I regretted it very much for I had a very 
great desire to become acquainted with her. I was very 
much gratified with a letter from her, she wrote she enjoyed 
herself very much in N Town and that it was very lively 

I found quite an alteration among my acquaintances in 
N Haven, many of them have become subjects of this late 
revival of religion which you have undoubtedly heard of 
from your sister who is one of the number that entertains 
a hope, the awakening has spread more generally through 
Mr Herricks school than in town. Mr. Herrick is a very 
pious man & appears to be very much engaged in the cause 
at this time in particular and all other Christians. I think 
it will be very gratifying to your parents to hear that Sally 
has become pious. 

Betsey I think you must have some lonesome hours since 
your cousin left you and Sally from home too, then, do once 
in a while think of me with pity. I learn that you are not 
likely to lose Clarissa after all that has took place. & almost 
hope Esqr Stanley will never find any young lady that will 
receive his attention any more. When you write again do tell 
me how your Mama does for I should be extremely well 
pleased to hear from any of your particular acquaintance. 


i .• > ‘ • , ! ■ ' ■ HJ )V 

You wrote me that you heard I was going to be married, 
but I cannot think you believed it or at least you will not 
when I tell you it positively is not so. Please to tell Maria 
I do not thank her for reporting such a story as that, all 
over New Haven. I have visited in Bridgeport since I 
left New Haven and saw the celebrated beauty, Miss 
Pamela Hubbell, who I have so much heard of, she told 
me she was acquainted with you and all the New Town 
ladies, & think her very handsome indeed. 

Betsey I am almost angry with you when I think how 
long it is since I was in New Town and you have never 
returned the visit. I think you have almost forgotten me. 
Do write me the next opportunity and I will be more 
punctual in answering your letters than I have been, if 
you do not write soon I shall think you are angry with 
me for my negligence. 

Please to give my respects to your Papa and all my ac¬ 

Yours, S. Hawley 

August 21st tomorrow is my birthday I shall be 18 years 


(From Grandma's brother while he was at Yale College. 
Imagine a college boy of today writing this sort of thing.) 

NEWHAVEN February 22nd 1820. 

Miss Elizabeth Edmond 
N ewtown 

Dear Sister 

Wednesday afternoon has once more arrived and with 
it the usual respite from the labors of the week, and in¬ 
clination, the main spring of all my actions, prompts me 
to again resume my pen for the purpose of holding a tacit 
conversation with my dear Sister. I shall first attempt to 


[ i8zo ] 

answer your affectionate letter for which I assure you I 
feel particularly grateful as I am conscious of being en¬ 
tirely undeserving of so great a favor. 

Now if you wish me to believe you as strict in the prac¬ 
tice of your doctrine as your correctness in laying down 
the rudiments would seem to imply, it would add much to 
the weight of your argument. You doubtless remember 
the old saying, 1:4 example is often more powerful than 
precept," if you will continue to bear this in mind and act 
accordingly, you may expect at some future period to wit¬ 
ness its exemplification. You need be under no apprehen¬ 
sions with regard to the reception of your advice author¬ 
ized as it is by superiority of your maturity of judgment 
and ties of affection and friendship. Let me assure you 
however, my dear sister, if when endeavoring to admin¬ 
ister consolation to an afflicted mind you imagined the 
cause of my depression of spirits to originate or indeed 
to have any connection with those trifling scenes in which 
I lately participated, you have entirely misconstrued my 
feelings and would to heaven it were of as little conse¬ 
quence. My studies though the most difficult of any in the 
whole College course are as agreeable as can be expected 
where nothing less than clearness and the most minute 
investigation can enable us to understand and prosecute 
them with success. I am at length convinced that regu- 
larity and perseverance to the attainment of excellence in 
any branch of science and that industry never fails of be¬ 
ing rewarded. And although I do not expect to soar on 
the wings of fame to the temple of immortality, yet it is 
my ardent wish at some future period to become a respect¬ 
able and I hope, useful, member of society. I have dis¬ 
charged my bills for the last term as far as my money 
would permit, the balance which is still unpaid amounts 
to twenty three dollars. Papa wished me to send my Col¬ 
lege bills as soon as receipted, but the want of opportunity 
has prevented me. My shoes are almost worn out & I 
wish those which Dibble had begun when I left, if com- 




-ib 3 I .yj3bo8 i > ,iuto'U ,3qod brie ojdK 


[ 1820 ] 

pleted, might be sent immediately. Give my love to the 
family and 

believe me your affectionate brother 

Wm. P. Edmond. 

Judge Edmond lived in a large house on Newtown Hill 
and when his portrait was painted, the artist also painted 
a landscape over the parlour mantlepiece. This house, 
my mother said, was burned down and with it most of the 
books brought to this country by Robert Edmond. The 
chairs in the library at Watertown were imported from 
France in 1816, and the chests of linen, toile de jouev, 
Lowestoft & Staffordshire china and various pieces of 
furniture belonged to my grandmother. She always adored 
her father, who is described as a “ physical and mental 
giant,” versed in classical knowledge, the law and medi¬ 
cine. He was relied upon for advice and counsel in the sur¬ 
rounding country. When he went to Philadelphia he rode 
on horseback, a matter of four days according to his letters. 
Mr. Cothren, the historian, said that in appearance and 
personality he resembled General Washington more than 
anyone he knew. I like to imagine him in small clothes, 
ruffled shirt and queue poring over his great leather books. 
Through the open window would come the smell of hay 
and one could see across the valley layer upon layer of blue 
wooded hills, clustering villages and white church steeples. 

The settlers at Stratford had followed the Housatonic 
into the interior and several miles away at Zoar, Salmon 
Curtis lived upon land inherited from his grandfather 
Benjamin, son of Captain Josiah Curtis. His toryism made 
him unpopular and probably caused the bitterness evident 
in my grandfather’s journal, 1814, 1822. 

Holbrook Curtis graduated from Yale in 1807, when 
all New England was in a ferment from Jefferson’s Em¬ 
bargo. This act, which, aimed at the British in retaliation 
for their impressing American seaman, practically killed 
the commerce and industry of the northern states. Feel- 



; Bii mt- inon n\l \ > jplauuni bm Mvxnttio? u; J 


ing ran so high in Connecticut there was even talk of seces¬ 
sion, and it led, in the war of 1812, to the Governor of 
that State refusing at first to supply troops to the Federal 
army. The extracts from my grandfather's journal begin 
while he was studying law and teaching school in New¬ 

Holbrook Curtis Journal 

Newtown, Monday , September 1S08. Training of 
the militia to arms. Read but little, spent the evening at 
Mr. Chapmans. 

Monday. Representatives chosen from Newtown, 
John Sanford and Simeon Beers, both Federalists. 

January iSOQ. Read Swift part of the day, in the 
evening on account of a company coming from New Mil¬ 
ford, attended a Ball at Mr. Josiah Glovers. 

Saturday. Spent the day principally in company, the 
evening at Mr. David Nichols. 

Tuesday. Read very steadily through the day, spent 
the evening in company with Messrs. Hicock & Sherman 
for the purpose of forming a society Constitution. 

Thursday February Q, iSOQ. Spent the evening at Mr. 
Chapmans in company, news of a bill having passed for 
the repeal of the embargo in the lower house. 

Friday. Studied, read papers through the day, in the 
evening read Churchills Poems. 

Feb. 26th 180Q . . . Went in company with 

Aunt Nichols to Woodbury. Returned about sundown. 
Went with a company of young people to Brookfield. Re¬ 
turned about 3 in the morning. 

Saturday March 4th 1809. Mr. Madison, the Presi¬ 
dent elect, takes the chair of state, it is supposed the Em¬ 
bargo will come off partially this day. Read Livy in the 

_ / 

Thursday. Read 50 Pages in Espionass. Embargo to 

come off partially the 15th of March. 

April 1809. News of the English having quit Spain. 




Tuesday. Read 30 Pages in Swift, a trifle in Powel, 
& spent the evening at Mr. David Nichols in company 
with ladies. 

June 1st 1809. . . . Attended a Court, Beck 

versus Deming. 

Monday ... in the afternoon heard a law suit. 
David Curtis was Plaintiff & I. Sherman and wife De¬ 
fendants action of slander, there was no judgment ob¬ 
tained being adjourned. 

Wednesday. Read a trifle in Blackstone also in Ovids 
Art of Love. (! !) 

Spent the evening at Mr. Joseph Nichols. 

Out in the evening, formed a society. 

Read Shakespeare etc. 

Monday. Training. Read but little, danced in the 
evening at the Widow B —’s. Made preparation for 

Tuesday. Two regiments of cavalry and one of In¬ 
fantry were collected in the street had 2 pieces and went 
through the common course of exercise. In the evening 
I attended a ball got to bed between 4 and 5 o’clock. 

1809 October (age 22) Read a trifle in Pope, etc. 

Thursday. Read 100 in Blackstone. very sick from 
smoking cigars, resolve I will smoke no more, spent part 
of evening at Mr. I. Glovers. 

Thursday. Rode to Danbury in a snowstorm, spent 
the evening in drinking and such like business. 

Wednesday . Played at nine pins went to bed in season. 

Thursday. In the evening was examined for the oath 
and together with 5 others admitted, after the usual round 
of drinking went to my couch. 

Friday. This morning after the oath was administered 
& after dinner I left town & came as far as E. Nichols. 

Thanksgiving. Spent the evening at Mr. Glovers and 
Mr. Chapmans. Attended the contortions of a dancing 
master. (!) 

bsi^zinimbs rfjso adj t 31 )e gnimom airlT .^aViV 5 ! 


[ 1810 ] 

Friday. Read a trifle in the “ Citizen of the World ”, 
wrote nearly a sheet full of papers in the afternoon < 5 c 
evening, entertain strong notions of in these days of quit¬ 
ting town. 

March 1810. Thursday. Read a trifle of Poetry & 
little other matters, etc. 

Wednesday. Read a trifle in Taber on Purchases spent 
the evening partly at Judge Edmonds (Note. This was 
in 1810 when my grandmother was only twelve, so all those 
years the families knew each other.) 

Thursday. Attended singing school late in the evening. 

Thursday, May 1810 Attended to my boys, read Heno- 
phon, etc. 

Friday. Read a trifle in the morning, in the afternoon 
rode home. 

Saturday. Went to Bridgeport in the morning, did but 
little that day.* 

Sunday sailed from Bridgeport for New York. Went 
a little more than half the distance. 

Monday. Arrived in New York a little before noon. 
Attended the theatre in the evening, tragedy the (illegible) 

Tuesday. Travelled about the city, made observations, 

Wednesday May 1st 1810. Travelled about the city, 
spent a considerable time in the Battery, attended the play 
in the evening, tragedy Alphonso of Castile. 

Thursday. Walked about as usual, in the evening had 
a supper of oysters. 

Friday. Spent part of the day at Mrs. Mathieus,. left 
New York for Bridgeport at i. 

Saturday. Arrived in Bridgeport 4 in the morning 
in Newtown at 4 in the afternoon. 

Sunday May 5th. Walked about in the afternoon went 
home, staid over night. 


Monday. Came into town, training of the militia, at¬ 
tended a ball in the evening. 

*Ije writes elsewhere of driving his “Cozen” in the “Chaise” which he gave after his 
mother's death to his sister, Mrs. Tomlinson. 

5 1 


Snimoca aril ni * lioq^bha ni bavin A 


Tuesday. Attended to my school, read a trifle, spent 
the evening in company. 

Friday. Heard a cause argued before General Bald¬ 
win. Some trouble of mind in these days. 

September //, l8lO. Tuesday. Rode to New Haven, 
taken up with company. 

Wednesday. Commencement day. attended to the ex¬ 
ercises of the day, took a second degree, spent the evening 
at the Columbia Gardens. 

Thursday. Went to Wallingford & saw Col. Humph¬ 
reys cattle show. 

Friday. Spent the day with Cozens & friends in Wal¬ 

Saturday. Rode from Wallingford home by the way 
of Humphryville, called on some relatives. 

Monday. Freemans meeting, attended in the afternoon, 

Sunday, June 21st, lSl2. Attended church all day. 
Heard that there is a declaration of war. 

Tuesday. Read but little. No talk but of war. 

Sunday July IQ, lSl2. War has not yet exhibited 
herself in open Contest except on the Ocean where there 
have been mutual captures though the balance is much 
against the U. S. 

Sunday, August $0. Attended Church, Bishop present, 
Confirmation, etc. The 17th of the present month Gend 
Hull surrendered an army of 2000 men to the English 
General Brock without firing a gun. 

Monday, Tues., TVednes., Thurs., Fri. Taken up in 
reading Tacitus, Sic. Rode home in the afternoon Fri., and 
Saturday read as usual. 

Sunday, Sept, ig, 1S12. Attended Church, heard 2 

sermons from Mr. Burhans. Out of health. About the 

first part of August the Guerriere, a British 44, fell in with 
” « 

Note: (Captain Hull was presented with a “sword and an elegant pair of 
pistols” by the Connecticut Legislature which, although it had been averse to 
entering the War of 1812, as most of the New England Federalists had been, 
was proud that the first success at sea should be due to a Connecticut man.) 


... . ' ■ : 


the Constitution commanded by Capt. Hull and was so 
roughly handled by the latter that she struck and the next 
day was blown up to prevent her sinking. 

Sunday, Oct. 2j, l8l2. Attended Church, Rode home. 

Monday. Spent the day in doing but little. 

Tuesday. Rode with my sister to New Haven, tarried 

Wednesday. Returned from New Haven in the rain. 

Thursday. Came in to town. 

Friday, Saturday. Attended to my school. Read Livy. 

Sunday, 21st of March 1813. Attended Church. En¬ 
suing week until Friday attended to my boys, except Thurs¬ 
day when I visited schools. Friday, dismissed my school 
for ever being about to go to Watertown. A new era in 
life about to commence.* 

The following letter from one of his Noyes cousins 
speaks of his changed quarters. 

Wallingford April the 13 1813 
Holbrook Curtis, Esq. 

Dear Cousin 

I had the pleasure of receiving your kind favor of the 
6 Inst, informing me of your removal to Watertown I 
am happy to hear you are pleased with your situation & 
hope you may find sufficient encouragement to settle there. 
As your Parents have felt anxious lest you should go to 
some distant part, they as well as other friends will be 
gratified to have you so near. I hope you will not be so 
engrossed in business but that you will visit us the en- 
sueing summer. 

You probably have heard of the Death of Uncle Philo 
I am told he was quite resigned to Death. Our family 
are in usual health, except Ma, who has been confin'd the 

*The Selectmen asked him to go there and settle, wishing a lawyer in the 
place who would practise and also give advice as a man of education and brains. 
He was always called Squire Curtis, or Judge. The other families of that name 
were not related. 


ri"ii :uiij rili'ff b«r.alq 3iE i/o*( TS3£ l oj :qqc f f * 

ad (tiw Ibnqhl i ullo «b Ibv/ as yaril ,ncq insleib omo 2 

t IS 1 3 } 

fortnight past with the canker rash, but is now better and 

Sally and myself have contemplated visiting N Town 
this spring, but I fear we shall be disappointed — per¬ 
haps we may go in the fall—I wish much to see my N 
Town friends. I have not heard from Clarissa since she 
left us; she probably gave you an account of her visit 
here; & meeting her old friend E E and so on. 

I hear Charlotte Sanford is married. I don’t see your 
name in the list—I suppose you wait till the war is over. 
I have nothing that will either interest or entertain you. 
I will therefore close and give Pa room to add a few lines. 
I need not tell you my Dear C—n I shall be ever happy 
to hear from you. The family join with me in love. 

From your affectionate 

Friend and Cousin 

Ann Noyes 

(“ E. E.” must have been Elizabeth Edmond. Here is 
“ Clarissa ” again) 

Holbrook Curtis, 

Dear Sir, 

I am disposed to avail myself of the offer you make 
to take my son under your instruction, where you now 
reside; provided you are not subjected thereby to incon¬ 
venience & some person would like to send a son here in 
exchange. Mr. Bradley & a Lady well qualified for the 
business, will instruct in our Academy. If you will take 
it upon you to inquire for a good place for my son to 
board at, on the plan proposed you will lay us under 
renewed obligations. Should he go to Watertown, I shall 
calculate to have him leave us by the third week in May. 
We shall expect to hear from you on the premisses as soon 
as you are prepared to write. My best wishes attend you 
in your professional concerns and more particularly in 



i Of ' 

I '.1813] 

the higher concerns of immortal existence to which we 
are pointed by the removal of our friends & acquaintances. 
I hope that the death of your Uncle Philo will be suitably 
improved to the afflicted family. 

Your affectionate friend and Uncle 

James Noyes 

Wallingford 29th Nov. 1813 
Thursday P.M. 

Holbrook Curtis Esq. 

Watertown, Connec. 

Ere this Cousin Holbrook I suspect you have given 
up all thoughts of hearing from me; but hope you will not 
infer from my silence that I am unmindful of my friend 
or engagements, for to the contrary I can assure you that 
I have made several attempts to write as often was called 
off is a positive fact. But have now sat down with a deter¬ 
mination to answer your letter. “ let the worse be what it 
will ” & hope no one will come in (as family) to interrupt 
me; for I intend to give myself full liberty without re¬ 
garding size & I had almost said propriety. Your letter 
was duely received and read with pleasure. It is quite re¬ 
viving to hear from your Lordship once more; I concluded 

that, that young Enchantress, your incomparible-had 

so completely ingrossed all your attention that not one 
single thought was bestowed upon absent friends; & as 
she had made you her captive, thought the silence quite 
excuseable. But not one word do you say of her, but that 
you have been waiting all this while for me to write. A 
fine excuse indeed for a “ College Learned Beau”! & a 
good look too for love! Now, Cousin H — if the truth 
was known, I believe it would appear that your patience 
was entirely exhausted, waiting for this Prodigy to make 
proposals of marriage, & finding her silent on the subject, 
thought fit to reprimand her, for delaying what you con¬ 
sidered her indispensible duty to disclose, & in this way 





* !"ijk 38 feosruwJ -;,ollo3“ a to* bwbni s huyad snft 


US 1 3] 

occurred the displeasure of the Lady, & swelled your own 
desperate state. It seems you have but just observed (in 
your old age) that custom forbids our first making advances 
of that kind; but as you do not adhere to fashion & approve 
of Lady’s making proposals I have concluded to rally a 
considerable force of girls & send them to waylay you, so 
you will have an opportunity of selecting just which you 
please. Sarah Hawley possibly may please your fancy, 
I’ll not pretend to obliterate those who you please, & Pray 
never give that as an excuse again, it will not exculpate 
you. You wish me, when inquired of, why you lived a 
life of celibacy, to say “ no young Lady ever solicited your 
hand”? you shall be gratified, I will say “you only ac¬ 
knowledge the truth, my cousin was quite a diffident little 
fellow, & thinking it quite out of character for young 
Gentlemen to offer themselves, waited for some young Lady 
to do so until experience taught him to the contrary, & that 
was not till he arrived at years of superanuation & found 
himself too old to please the fancy of those he would select 
for a wife.” Did you ever? how provoking! Here comes a 
beau with an invitation for us to attend the Ball so you see 
I am necessitated to leave without finishing my letter but 
never mind I’ll resume my pen again in the morning. It 
is quite late & I must go to prepare for the Ball, Goodnight. 
Friday noon. Good Morning cousin Holbrook; what a 
delightful day! I have just returned from a short walk 
with Ann & Maria Hawley (who spent the night with us) 
call’d upon a friend & found sitting in her drawing room 
the Beaus <?c Belles in fine spirits playing games at Whist. 
I stayed long enough to have a little “ dish of discourse ” 
with them, left early to make a few calls & hastened home 
to chat with you. 

We had a most “super excellent” Ball last eve; about 
2c; couple — just enough to render it pleasant. But what 
was a little unfortunate for us it was very dark when we 
came home, the rain poured down in torrents & “ just by 
way of variety” we took half a “trip” over — however 


.nit 1 f 16 jniynlq aliiiqa uih ni «lba & t>dl 

> gnof bovr.Ja I 

Juo te ;3v > ;«£l JijK 13 j, ■ r<oni s lid ,7/ 

vr! J 2 U*[ J * 3& ajnmol nr nv/ob fanuoq m i srh ( srnod omn 

we arrived safe at the old mansion in good health and with 
spirits not much depressed. It has been quite lively in 
Wallingford of late; we have partys almost every week, 
and Balls not infrequently. Dancing and card playing 
appear to be the favorite amusements of young people. 

It is but few months since card playing was introduced — 
but as I am quite a novice in the art cannot join with my 
acquaintances in their games. As it is beginning to be 
fashionable & others appear to derive so much pleasure 
from it I must acknowledge when I see them all engaged 
I feel inclined to attain some little knowledge; just enough 
to participate with my friends — but Mama says “ Sarah, 

I do not wish you to learn; in my opinion card playing has 
a bad tendency ” — and now what do you say about that, 
Esq? Is there any impropriety in substituting cards for 
Button, Crimmonal, Sec. come speak candidly the sentiment 
of your mind Se I will abide by your judgment. I know, 
cousin H egotism cannot be interesting to you, but when 
writing to my friends I say just what happens to come first, 
not thinking they have bounds to their patience as well as 
myself, but without enlarging upon the subject I’ll now 
turn to your letter. 

I never came across so insulting an old beau as you are; 
then you really think by using considerable art I may pos¬ 
sibly obtain a husband Se then you think to flatter a “ little 
bit or so ” by saying I possess a vivid imagination See. I 
beg you will say not more; for my vanity is now so inflated 
that it seems as though I was elevated in air and cannot 
tell whether I am in or out of the body. But to talk like ' 
a rational creature, I am surprised to find you ignorant of 
my intention to be an old maid! did you not know that I 
(with a number of others) expected ere long to keep old 
maids Hall? That is to be the case Sir! Sc a critique 
as you are, we will ever be happy to see you, and if you 
honor us with a visit, will exert our best endeavors to please 
you. I perceive by your bit would insinuate as tho’ I gave 
myself full liberty, in talking about your honor. To be sure 



. i ui v r>J in 

o;-] o} lufi .ybod ydi )uq io ni me I isrtoriw ibl 

uov li bn* f uo r 332 u ^qqfid yd jUiw; aw f 3 ifi uoi( ec 
3vb- I f oiii 2B aieufliirti hluow nd iuo* yd avkmaq I .no* 


who would refrain from laughing when they heard our 

old Steve had fallen in love and was going to be married 

and must have a better command of their risibles than mv- 


self to suppress them, I am sorry however if your Lord- 
ship is discomforted and beg ten thousands of pardons. 
Then you are soon to be introduced to a party of Ladys at 
- ? as your heart is so very susceptible, and your dis¬ 
position enterprising, I expect your first visit will termi¬ 
nate in matrimony. Take care dont let your heart 
“ bump ” too hard — I have not half answered your letter 
and here come 3 beaux, well I'll run oft & they shall not 
tell them I am home till I have time to speak of the 
family. We are all well in this house, Mama is at N. 
Haven Uncle Philo’s widow & cousin Sally were here 
week before last & Cornelia returned with them. I have 
not heard from N.Town friends of late. Do come & see 
us soon. I am called and must reluctantly close in great 

Your friend & cousin 

Sarah Noyes 

Parents & sisters join with me in love. If you cannot read 
this, do tell me and I will endeavour to write more legibly 
next time. I have not time to look it over. 

From Journal of Holbrook Curtis. 

Watertown, 25th of February, 1814. 

It is almost a year since I came to Watertown, during 
which time, I have argued several causes. I have laboured 
under great disadvantage from timidity & its consequent 
embarrassment. I think I have overcome this difficulty in 
a measure. 

The 2d day of this month an event happened to me the 
most afflicting I have ever witnessed. The death of my 
Father. Attending court at Litchfield on Wednesday the 
2d inst., at o’clock I was called from my bed when I rec'd 



.omit )> )n 

5n?2 r Jaoralfi ai tl 

! oin del >vfid I .aoeuso Isiov-j^ bougin ovsri I ^mil ffoiriw 

Jnomaajm dmo 








Holbrook Curtis 





the disagreeable intelligence that he was dangerously ill. 
I rode with speed towards home 6c at the Bridge rec’d the 
more unwelcome tiding that he was dead. He expired at 
8 in the evening. Peace to his shade. His kindness has 
heretofore freed me from care & supplied all my wants. 
May my respect for thy memory never stay, and if those 
departed are permitted to scan or influence the conduct of 
sublunary mortals, may mine be such that thou canst with 
satisfaction look on me from on high, and wilt thou, 
dear shade, direct, watch o'er & protect me, & may we at 

last join society in those-mansions where sorrow & 

terror will be known no more. 

(Signed) Holbrook Curtis 

My Grandfather considered a return to Newtown after 
his father's death in 1814 and his cousin writes to him in 
regard to his decision. 

Wallingford nth April 1814 
Monday P.M. 

Holbrook Curtis, Esq. 

Watertown, Conn. 

Dear Cousin 

As I was walking out a few days since, & retrospec¬ 
tively viewing past scenes, other objects gradually van¬ 
ished; & you alone took possession of my mind. Why 
said I, does he not write to me? Did my letter filled with 
all manner of nonsense give offence? Or were his spirits 
so depressed that he feels no inclination to converse with 
the (apparently) vain & frivolous Sarah? thus, various 
conjectures were forming, when I arrived at the home of 
my friend (Miss Kirtland) & at the door was accosted by 
Mr. C. who held out a letter. I hastily seized it — and 
with no small pleasure and surprise recognized the hand 
of my cousin Holbrook. We are all happy to hear from 


[ i8i4\ 

you & that you are eligibly situated at Watertown — my 
Parents coincide with Aunt in thinking it better for you 
to remain there, than renounce your profession & return 
to New Town. Cousin Holbrook, I applaud, <?c admire, 
your fillial attention & concern for your mother, but think as 
it is her desire you should continue at W.-n your duty is 
plain before you. After spending much time & labor in 
acquiring sufficient knowledge of your profession, & be¬ 
ing well established in business I think you would enjoy 
yourself less well in persuing an employment of which 
you are unacquainted, as to continue in the practice of 
Law, & certainly you would not be as useful to the com¬ 
munity, all things consider'd I think your most judicious 
plan will be to fix your permanent abode at Watertown. 
We will be very happy to see you whenever you will give 
us the pleasure of a visit & if you cannot come this spring, 
do not let the summer slide off without seeing Walling¬ 
ford. My Parents have been anxious to see Aunt ever since 
Uncle’s death, & would have been at New Town ere this, 
had not sickness in the family, & Pa's parochial duty’s 
(which have been great) conspired to render it impractic¬ 
able for them to leave home. The fever has & still prevails 
in this town, tho’ at present it is abating — during the un¬ 
pleasant month of March scarcely a day passed without 
Pa’s being called to visit the sick & attend funerals — nor 
were his labor’s confined to this Parish the opposite County 
of Northford, & a number of family’s in Cheshire (while 
their minister was absent) sent for him to visit them in 
their distress, tho’ he has been much exposed to the fever 
yet through the mercy of God it has not affected him. Un¬ 
doubtedly you have heard of Maj r Hawley’s death — he 
has left an afflicted disconsolate family. I was with them 
when he died & a more affecting scene I never before wit¬ 

A week or two since Grandmamma was attacked with 
the fever — for a few days we were quite alarmed about 
her-—she soon began to recover strength & consider’d her- 


; . . <d I i 




self almost well (& rather imprudently) left her room & 
breakfasted & spent part of the morning with company, 
6c since her fever has returned with alarming symptoms, 
which if not soon removed we fear will terminate in a 
quick consumption — she is now able to sit up great part 
of the day. Little Eunice has been quite ill for a few days 
but is now getting better. Pa purpose's visiting New 
Town this spring, if Grand-Ma gets better, Ma will accom¬ 
pany him, otherwise one of my sisters. Mrs. Grant, & Ann 
likewise talks of going but I think it doubtful whether 
they reach there. 

On Monday last Esq Hawley deliver'd a spirited 6c 
eloquent oration, the subject of which was the defeat 6c 
downfall of Bonepart, tho’ his time was not so much en¬ 
grossed with the Scourge of Europe — as to leave unno¬ 
ticed the situation of our own distracted country. It was 
written in fine stile, deliver'd with much dignity . . . . & 
interested all the advocates for peace while the faces of 
the Tyrants 6c Madison's friends were flushed with indig¬ 
nation. I would quote some of his remarks but under¬ 
stand it is soon to appear in print 6c were I to begin a 
rehearsal for before I could possibly stop, your patience 
would be wronged 6c my ability exhausted. Mary Ann 
Noyes has recently been visiting us, but before your letter 
arrived she had returned. 

I wish you would prevail on Aunt* 6c cousin Polly Ann 
to come to Wallingford. I think it may be of service to 
them to journey after the winters confinement. Grandma 
thanks you for your kind remembrance of her 6c wishes me 
to present her compliments in return. Parents Sisters 6c 
Brothers unite with me in respects 6c love to Aunt, Cousins, 
& yourself. Please remember my love to Clarissa 6c Maria 
Nichols 6c any who may enquire after your friend and 

Cousin . Sarah. 

(Letter written by Sarah Noyes) 

* “ Aunt ” was Esther Holbrook Curtis and Polly Ann her daughter who mar¬ 
ried Isaac Tomlinson. She was my grandfather’s only sister and her daughter 
married Judge Chapman of Hartford. 


[iSi 4] 

(Reverend James Noyes, the father of Sally and Ann 
Noyes, married Ann Holbrook, sister of Salmon Curtis’ 
wife. He was descended from Rev. James Noyes of New- 
burvport, who when he saw seven poor old witches hang¬ 
ing on gibbets outside of Salem, remarked, “ There be 
seven firebrands of HellA) 

Wallingford August 29th 1814 

Holbrook Curtis Esq. 

W a ter town 

Dear Uncle 

I received your letter on Monday, and thank you very 
much for your advice. You wrote, that you thought the 
last Edition of Morsas would be better for me, it is the 
last Edition of Morsas that I attend to. I study Dic¬ 
tionary and attc*nd to writing. I have not Painted but very 
little, there is school only 4 days in a week, three weeks 
since Mrs. Elton left off going to school. I was homesick 
a little at first with the school but now I like it very much. 
Yesterday afternoon Mr. Elton dismissed his school, he 
was so unwell, and today he has not attended, I heard he 
was very sick. As to grammar I shall attend to that this 

Aunt has been very sick with the Prevailing Epidemic 
but has got better, there has a number of others had it in 
this Place and but one died. Charles and Clarissa are in 
Wallingford, they have today gone to Middletown with 
Sally. You mentioned writing Composition, there is none 
in the school that attended to it. 

I have no news that Uncle would care about hearing, 
therefore I shall stop 

Your affectionate niece 

S Tomlinson 



Holbrook Curtis’ first marriage to Elizabeth Stone Cut¬ 
ler is described in his journal, but was of short duration. 
The death of the child was quickly followed by that of the 

August 30th, 1819 

It is more than five years since I have written in the 
foregoing Diary. How many and how great have been the 
vicissitudes of my life since that period. How true the 
language of the wise Man, as applied to me: 

For what hath man of all his labour and 
of the venation of his heart wherein he 
hath laboured under the sun? 

For all his days are sorrow and his 
travail grief. Yea, his heart taketh not 
rest in the night. This is also vanity. 

The following condoles with the death of his child, and 
shows the point of view of that day. 

Wallingford August 13th 1819 

Holbrook Curtis Esq. 


Dear Sir: 

We had not heard of the death of your child till yester¬ 
day, when Mr. Cutler informed us of it. We condole with 
you and your wife under the event. If trials are necessary 
for us in this state of humanity, it is equally necessary that 
God should determine the kind and measure of them. 
There is much cause for thankfulness in all our tribula¬ 
tion, that he designs our profit therein. Your knowledge 
of the scriptures, enable you (I doubt not) to have right 
views of him in his afilictive dispensations. 

We hope that Anna will be some comfort to your dear 
Partner, whose situation excites our sympathy — May her 


health be restored and her life continued many years — 
Especially, our ardent desire is, that she may have tran¬ 
quility in her soul. You will give my love 6c that of your 
Aunt to her; and tell her from us that she must “ Be of 
good cheer, for Christ hath overcome the world.” 

That trust in him, which involves confidence in his 
love and faithfulness, will be her support — In proportion 
as earthly things fail her a sense of the value of heavenly 
things will become a compensation worth possessing. 

The vicissitudes you have met with, I think, will not 
fail of producing their desired effect — moderate affection 
towards outward objects, Christian submission — That this 
may be the case, is the ardent wish of your 

Affectionate uncle 

James Noyes 

Journal of Holbrook Curtis 

August 19th, 1821, Thursday 

The weather is cold and dreary, on Monday the snow 
fell a foot deep, on a level, or more, although it is much 
drifted. The oldest people among us never saw such a 
time before, they say. The cold is freezing. The last has 
been a long winter, and some of the coldest weather ever 
known, Farenheit ranging from 10 to 20 below o. It is 
now more than a year and a half since I have written in 
my journal, during which period I have remained single, 
and boarded for the most part with Mrs. Cutler, having 
left housekeeping Dec. 1820. I have an unproductive prop¬ 
erty consisting of a House and lands & furniture. The 
times are very hard for farmers, produce has never been 
as low before since my recollection, — Pork $9. per hun¬ 
dred, Corn $00.34 P er Bushel, and Rye $00.42 — a very 
difficult time for persons in Debt. I never was a financier, 
and I shrewdly suspect the good people of the place have 
shewed me pretty thoroughly since I have been in this 


ri ■ 1 it f •' 1) VJ »)■ : ; i i ,(:• ' f ti *■ ! J 1 1 



Town, at least, I have done considerable business, and re¬ 
duced my capitol considerably besides, although my ex¬ 
penses have indeed been considerable. My greatest fault 
is indolence, and my small one, a want of Ambition. I 
speak of myself as belonging to the World, For in the 
sight of Heaven, I know I have crimes enough, in all con¬ 
science, without particularizing. I believe I might have 
attained some eminence in my profession, I believe I might 
have been respected for talents, But I lost my ambition 
when young, and of course my industry, — for a cause and 
in a Manner that I do not choose to describe on paper. I 
suffered in early life by reason of the Malice, Envy & 
Triumphant Management of those who had no other occa¬ 
sion to hate me than that they saw me rioting in favor and 
enjoyments which were denied them. I did not, like 
Byron's Corsair turn traitor to human Nature, and hate 
all — but one. On the other hand, having felt distress my¬ 
self, I have ever been pierced more deeply by the woes 
of others. 

I cannot raise my eyes to Heaven and say I forgive all 
Mankind. But if it be a Christian duty so to do, God 
grant my mind may be so much enlightened as to believe 
it. I cannot say that I am entirely indifferent to the favours 
of the World. But yet I have very little anxiety about 
them. The truth is my early Heartrendings taught me to 
distrust of all Mankind, and I much doubt if there be any 
other emotion of the Mind than that of selfishness in all 
semblance of benevolence. I have more recently, or since 
my residence in this place, seen much of Happiness and 
domestic enjoyment — and trials and woes so severe as to 
cast all my other sorrows into shade. I am now quite 
calm — happily my mind is so constituted as that the more 
violent emotions can make no impression on it for a long 
period — in succession. But sometimes my grief will steal 
upon my solitude and exhibit me to myself the most for¬ 
lorn of Mortals. I wish I had a good wife, and as I can¬ 
not endure the Meanness, niggardliness & drudgery neces- 


sary to acquire an estate, and have a desire to read, be 
quiet, and enjoy domestic happiness, and wish my children 
well educated, if I should have any, I wish I had a rich 
wife. But as I seldom go abroad, have little confidence in 
myself, and want management, I trust I shall never have 
any wife at all. 

Sunday, April 29th, 1821 

I have been to Church through the day, heard two ser¬ 
mons from the Rev d . Bethel Judd. The text “ Now is Christ 
risen from the Dead.” The morning sermon was argu¬ 
mentation keen and perspicuous and the evidence of 
Christ’s Resurrection was presented in a Manner so im¬ 
posing as .to leave no doubt on the Mind. But there was 
clearly a falling off in the afternoon, when the same sub¬ 
ject was continued by way of application and improvement. 
On Religious subjects 1 am somewhat blind. Oh, that 
God would give me light. Within the last year, the Rev. 
L. McNeil Gridley, settled Presbyterian Minister of this 
place, has died. He was an honest, plain, candid, easy, 
good Man, Negligent of his affairs and died a Bankrupt. 
Pie had a considerable share of feeling. He was at times 
touching and quite affecting in Prayer. Since his death 
there seems to be a great desire to encite what is termed 
a Religious Awakening, and I believe it will succeed. I 
hope it will make people better if it does, Although I very 
much doubt the beneficial effects of those Religious ex¬ 
citements commonly denominated Awakenings. Indeed I 
am a sinner and selfish myself, but I see selfishness, temper, 
uncharitablcness and a disposition to slander in those who 
are subjects of awakening — and pretend to a change of 
heart. On Tuesday I calculate, God willing, to go to 
Hartford, being for the first time a Member of the Legis¬ 
lature,—What I did not expect, as I am nominally an Epis¬ 
copalian. There is a Majority of Presbyterians in this 
place who have always appeared to me remarkably jealous 
of their rights for a Majority. But I could not have been 




[ IS2I ] 

elected without the votes of some of them, so I conclude 
they think it either proper or politic not to press Matters 
too hard. I have ever endeavoured to avoid that Religious 
Bigotry that leads one Man to treat another ill on account 
of a difference in religious sentiment. But I have felt it 
considerably in the course of my life — I have been im¬ 
properly and unjustly treated for no other cause than that 
I attended Church. I have no wish to retaliate, but I wish 
feelings of that kind so inconsistent with the Nature of 
our Government & constitution were done away. It is a 
Relic of the Dark Ages. How do those persons who expect 
to go to the same Heaven calculate to enjoy perfect hap¬ 
piness in Company with each other when they bear one 
another a deadlv Hatred? 

(A page of Journal torn out here) 

for one, and I would be very well pleased 
to be clear of the profession, and enjoy some Dulcinia in 
quiet. But then the enjoyments of love in a Cottage or a 
desert does well for a Novel but not at all for Real Life. 

Tuesday June 12 1821 

Heigh Ho,— I am indolent,— lazy — I board with 
Mrs. Cutler, but have no convenient lodging Room. Am 
expecting to lodge at Smith’s; Room at the office, and 
board in another place. If I did not dread it I would set 
myself to get Married — But I have not courage sufficient. 
How vain is life, Here am I after having once had a wife 
& family, the owner of a House and Real estate, far and 
near, like a very Slave seeking up and down the streets 
for a Room to sleep in. But yet I live easy, much too easy 
— I ought to have cares and labour. 

But I am reduced to the same situation I was in Ten 
years ago — Oh that I were sixteen years of age, it appears 
to me that by labour I might accomplish great things—* 
But soon I shall be too old to get a Name, and I have 

•He was born in 17S7. 



ill ■ i: ■ < '(•': If. 3r > abctf JcrflI r > "* 


[ lS2I ] 

neglected it hitherto. Well it is of small importance. A 
Year, a Month, a day, may make us all equal. There was 
a fellow student with me — His education was but indif¬ 
ferent. But his mind was strong, and he excelled in what 
was droll or odd — His person was ugly— He was in his 
dress a perfect Sloven — And it was his delight, at that 
time, to sit, and while away an evening discanting on his 
own deformity, while every few Moments he would be in¬ 
terrupted by the obstreperous laughter of his fellow Stu¬ 
dents. We were then reading law — and I considered 
myself at that time, as possessing every advantage over H 
in point of education, reading, and so forth. But I looked 
to my own estate for a support and livelihood, and H de¬ 
pended on himself. I neglected my law books, read his¬ 
tory and so forth, and neither thought or cared much for 
the practice of law, fame or Honour — H commenc’d 
business in his profession industriously and with some suc¬ 
cess, but he was too crude to become illustrious there. He 
had too Many distinguished, ambitious Competitors whose 
opportunities far surpassed his own, to ascend to the first 
rank in his profession — He seem’d after a short struggle 
to perceive the disadvantages under which he labour'd, 
But his Ambition was Not dampen’d. He sought and 
found popularity in a different field. His talents were 
better adapted to gain attention in a popular assembly than 
at the bar. He perceiv’d where his powers lay. He sum¬ 
mon’d them all to his aid. He became a violent Partisan; 
his Wit 6c Humour, and coarse but popular eloquence soon 
attracted attention, and He was at a very early age pro¬ 
moted to the first offices in the gift of the State. He seem'd 
gratified by his brilliant course. He seem’d to look for¬ 
ward with a sure expectation that his power was permanent, 
and that he would soon acquire wealth. His brilliant 
course which resembled the path of a shooting Star was 
a Reproach to my indolence, and I reflected with myself 
that while I was in obscurity, that H with far less oppor- 




tunity and advantage, had climbed to the pinnacle of fame 
— I knew indeed, that he had been loud on subjects that he 
car’d Nothing about, that he had supported a party whose 
principles and followers he despis'd. But yet he had at¬ 
tained his object, and he seem’d happy— His whole Mind 
and Soul were engag'd in the cause to which he Ow'd his 
exaltation. He had hitherto in the pursuit of popularity 
Neglected his property and had been Negligent of his Af¬ 
fairs and fortune. But he appear'd to have attain'd a fond¬ 
ness for the lady. She had determin'd to resist his ad¬ 
dresses. His wealth was almost the only quality, which he 
possess'd, that could be acceptable to a lady— He was in 
his Manners cold, distant, suspicious. His disposition was 
Mean, contracted and avaricious, and his soul was form’d 
upon the most narrow scale. Her Parents as is usual in 
such cases but too frequently, were so blinded by the wealth 
of the suitor, as to perceive None of his defects — And 
were incessant in their importunities, that she should con¬ 
sent to Marry a lover who possess’d so great a portion of 
what appears to be thought the only thing valuable in 
Life. Her resistance was firm but respectful — and it is 
probable that the wealth of the lover and the persuasions 
of the Parents would have been equally unavailing had not 
an event hitherto unexpected occured-—Fortune by one 
of those vicissitudes by which for the last few years, she 
has seemed to be benighted, swept from the Father of the 
lady all his estate. She could not resist longer the en¬ 
treaties of Parents involv’d in distress. She was an onlv 


Child, and she yielded herself a sacrifice to the plea of 
doating parents. She was married to a Plusband who re¬ 
ceiv'd her with emotions very similar to those with which 
he would have receiv’d the avails of a good bargain in 
the way of Merchandize. He was pleas’d with possessing 
Beauty; he was gratified with having carried his point, But 
he was incapable of relishing any of the beauties of her 
Mind. Flis Society could not be interesting to any one. 




ni nisgifid boos £ \o alievs adl b'viaw aved bluow ad 



His sordid Soul was occupied wholly with the idea of add¬ 
ing to and increasing his extended possessions, and his 
surly Mind neither had the power or the Wish to render 
the domestic fireside pleasant. This fair and accomplish'd 
lady endeavour'd to find some consolation for the loss of 
domestic enjoyment in the Society of persons whose Mind 
and Taste resembled her own — She was receiv’d with that 
satisfaction which an Union of Beauty and Genius will 
ever find. She was admir'd 6c commended, and was not 
insensible of the admiration she receiv'd. But all these 
kind attentions were daggers to the Soul of the contracted 
& Mean Husband. Jealousy took possession of his cruel 
and suspicious Mind. She could Not purchase a new Rib¬ 
bon but his sordid avarice would vent itself in the Most 
Abusive Reproaches upon the admir'd and beauteous Wife. 
He could Not endure that she should have any desire to 
please any other person than himself — and his jealousy 
led him to suppose that the offerings which were Made at 
the Shrine of her Beauty and Genius were Attacks upon his 
Honour. The expense of her dress, which somewhat com¬ 
ported with his situation, prayed upon his grovelling and 
avaricious Soul — I relate it as I verily believe it to be 
true although I know there are different opinions, and he 
was determin’d to relieve his feeling by a dreadful, revenge 
on the object who had elicited his rage — she was innocent 
as she was Lovely, but she could Not confine herself wholly 
to the Society of a querulous and brutish husband — and 
she would sometimes endeavour to relieve the Tedium of 
life by accepting the invitations of the Numerous friends 
she had made — to a family visit — Among other friend¬ 
ships which she had contracted was that of a respectable 
Young family, who were Noted for their domestic tran¬ 
quility happiness and Hospitality. But the husband was 
too much provoked with all who shew’d his wife Attentions 
to continue any friendly intercourse with them, it became 
Necessary therefore that the Husband of the family where 

7 o 

3 Vi i3fi)o * nornA- - )iiiv ^iim r» of-—oucm >ui\ r oAz 

this friendship was contracted should see the lady Home 
from these visits. The Rage and Jealousy of the Maddened 
Husband Now found an opportunity to gratify its Malice. 
He issued an Attachment Against the Man who had per¬ 
form’d these friendly offices from the purest Motives, which 
cover’d all his estate. He charg'd him with the Seduction 
of his Wife. Astonishment was excited in the Minds of 
All — Wealth was Not wanting on the part of the Pff to 
prepare his suit—Industry and perseverance were Able 
to procure the testimony of a Servant Maid who had been 
turned off on account of Misconduct, and three or four 
persons in low life of dissipated habits, to circumstances 
which convinc’d a Jury of the Guilt of the Defendant, and 
of course of the Wife. Although None of them dar’d 
testify to the facts charg’d in the declaration, the Def. was 
obliged to fly his Country. The Jury gave against him a 
Verdict for $5000 and an enormous bill of costs in favour 
of the Pff. The beautiful Wife 6c infant Children of the 
Def. were left poor and forlorn — and were oblig’d to re¬ 
turn to a widow'd Mother in humble circumstances for 
subsistance. The once lovely but Now dejected and perse¬ 
cuted wife of the Pff. return'd to those only who would 
afford her protection, her unhappy parents. They had be¬ 
gun to lament the unhappy lot of their daughter soon after 
her Marriage — and their Anguish was Much quicken’d 
by the consideration that they had been the cause of seal¬ 
ing her unhappy fate. But they were Not prepar’d for so 
severe a trial — and in their first paroxisms of Anguish, 
they had nearly sunk into despair. But the example of the 
daughter recover'd the almost deceas’d parents. She was 
Mild and submissive to her cruel fate. Having found No 
consolation in virtue and innocence on earth — She Repos’d 
confidence only in that awful and dread Tribunal whose 
judgments are just and whose vengeance will surely over¬ 
take the Wicked. Her Parents consider’d her Abused but 
Not degraded — and in their Society she found that tender- 


; n•: bir,qjiq JoVI ersw *pdt lutf .oJe {qqcdnu rid ^ai 

•iisqg)b oJni ; aua ^iiwn bsri (oril 
Iwn lod 01 dvittirndu* ban bI : M 


ness due to her sufferings and her wrongs. She had been 
thoughtful and serious before but had never made a pro¬ 
fession of religion. She now determin'd to give the pledge 
of the faith and Christian character which she had for a 
long time by her works and conversation Maintain’d—be¬ 
fore partaking of the Symbols of a Savious death, she said 
she desir’d to state and to confess that she had been guilty 
of Many and grievous Sins, which Nought but the blood 
of a dying Saviour could wash away—But she said that 
she improv’d that opportunity to declare before God and 
The Saviour whose death and sufferings she was about to 
commemorate — That she was innocent of the crime which 
had been imputed to her and which had spread so much 
unhappiness around — She said she forgave her enemies 
and pray’d that God Might turn their hearts — Pier 
thoughts have Appear’d since to be plac’d exclusively on 
that Haven Where the Wicked cease from Troubling — 
and the weary find rest. Although the jealous Avaricious 
Husband has added to his estate and reduc’d his expenses, 
He is shunned by Mankind as though he were infected — 
And although his soul is somewhat sooth’d at beholding 
the distress and despair he has spread about him — yet his 
sordid and contracted Mind is a stranger to the composure 
of the persecuted object of his jealousy— He is rack’d with 
Madness & hate at the Neglect and contempt which he 
finds, while she is calm, relying on Heaven the Justifier 
of innocence — 

Saturday November 10th 1821 

Return’d on Thursday last from New York where I had 
been about for some time. Have been to Philadelphia, 
Seen the Academy of Arts, Mr. Peak’s Museum, Mr. 
West’s Pictures, The Dinner Party and so forth, have re¬ 
turn’d and commenc’d board yesterday in my own House 
with Mr. Holcomb. A Hard head ache and Cold. If I 
were worth $100,000—I should be pleas'd to live in a 
populous Town — But, should probably be No better off in 



situation or any other respect than I now am—The most 
obnoxious thing in the Country to me is the low ambition, 
Malice & Envy which prevail there, uncultivated minds 
have no external or internal resources, so they examine the 
faults 6c foibles of their Neighbors — which destroys and 
breaks down all enjoyment and happiness — besides, there 
are little jealousies of ecclesiastical societies. 

Saturday Dec. ist 1821 

It has snow'd for the last day and a half. For a few 
days past I have read Dwight's History of New Eng¬ 
land, it consists of travels and remarks as he is passing 
and promises to be a useful work, it has nevertheless 
what I esteem faults, our ancestors I do not believe pos¬ 
sess’d all the humble, meek and Christian spirit which he 
ascribed to them, whatever I have learnt of them from 
books, in tradition, or from observation on the manners 
and customs which they may be suppos'd to have trans¬ 
mitted has induc’d me to believe, that what has been so 
often ascrib’d to them as piety was in a great measure 
bigotry & asperity — that they had but a small portion 
of the humility, meekness and brotherly love of him whose 
precepts they profess to follow — for although externally 
they regarded some of the divine precepts in a very literal 
sense, yet that they persecuted 6c oppress'd to their utmost 
power all who differ'd from them in religious sentiment is 
an undeniable fact, and that there is a strong disposition 
among their descendants who retain their Puritan prin¬ 
ciples to exclude from all political power those of adverse 
religious sentiment or at least that such is the fact in this 
part of New England, must be obvious to every disinter¬ 
ested observer. The manners and Customs and Sentiments 
of our forefathers were very similar to those of the Scotch 
— in a manner 6c degree somewhat surprizing, considering 
that they were Englishmen. I never could account for it 
on any other ground than that they were Fellow Soldiers 
and of the same Political 6c religious creed in their opposi- 


?a 3 niinog iuoijji 31 i < ad* rno 1 ic * b < 1 r(V 

[. 1822] 

tion to and destruction of Charles ist. Certain it is that 
this resemblance is very strong in every variety of shade 
that is expos'd to view. Children designated their parents 
by the same names in both Countries; there was the same 
Canting and holy pretensions in both countries, in little 
Chicaneing Bargain Making — The same Religious 
observances of Holy days, and I have no doubt, but that 
our Ancestors would, with the Scotch, have deliver'd 
up the Unhappy Charles to his Murderers, had he sought 
a refuge in our Country among the first Settlers as he did 
in theirs from his Persecutors, provided they could have 
obtain’d the same reward — they would have doubtless 
introduced some Puritanic Maxim, or prefac'd the act with 
some distorted text of Scripture. But that they were 
bigolted, avaricious and inhuman, are facts so Notorious 
that a person must be blinded with all the prejudices of 
Dr. Dwight not to perceive it. I do not make these remarks 
because I suppose the first Settlers of this Country were of 
a character different from those of the same rank and sta¬ 
tion in other Countries at that time. Many of them brought 
with them all the Hypocrisy incident to the Parliamentary 
troops of O. Cromwell, they had been educated in a Coun¬ 
try where Religious or Political toleration were Not then 
very considerably understood, and they were similar to 
other people of the Age in which they liv'd, but to talk 
of their piety & virtues is to talk of what scarcely existed 
in that day and generation. Dr. Dwight was a man of 
extensive knowledge & information and as is usual in such 
cases, had strong and immovable prejudices, he never saw 
many virtues in a political opponent, he has in his first 
volume given the character of many distinguish’d persons, 
and no doubt with great propriety, but it is believ’d that 
he has pass’d some no less worthy without Notice. 

April 8th 1822 

The County Court is in session and I somewhat expect 
to try a case tomorrow, but hope it will be settled. I 


j;.n! aid ni *Eii s>d .irraooqqo Cs-»tiiIoq 8 nr wutriv /nem 

I .balJJM ad Hiw ii aqori Jud .v/onornoi 3280 b qi) ol 

[IS 22] 

remain the same, board in my own house with Mr. H., and 
doubt whether I ever Marry. The first Monday of April 
inst. 1 was again elected a member of the Legislature. I 
think my enemies as well as friends will say that it was 
without any exertion on my part, or any attempt to influ¬ 
ence, it is a situation I do not and have never very much 
coveted in this place, because I know there are a few per¬ 
sons here who are as destitute of anything like religious 
principle as they are of common honesty, who endeavour 
to give a Society prejudice to everthing, and although some 
of the P Society voted for me last Spring, yet the Cry 
this season is that Religion is in danger, an Episcopalian 
has been twice elected a member of the Gen. Assembly — 
Facts will evince the justice of these men — there have 
been 16 Elections since I have liv'd in this Town, 12 of 
which have been from the Presbyterian Society—But yet 
people who have but one eye cannot sec both sides of a 
question, for myself I can clearly say that I do not wish 
to sec persons elected to Office who electioneer for them¬ 
selves or who endeavor to evade the provisions in the Con¬ 
stitution of the State for the purpose of obtaining it. I 
will never unless I alter my mind be in the same situation 
another Season as I have been the present, I will not be 
drawn into a Party when interested and dishonest persons 
from selfish Motives can give it the appearance of a re¬ 
ligious division of sentiment. Zimmerman on religious 
bigotry ought to be read by certain persons in this place 
every morning before Prayers, it would be a blessed thing 
if their minds could be enlighten'd on that subject—and a 
great benefit to our Society. Prejudice & Bigotry of this 
description arise from a Narrowness of intellect, and from 
a want of acquaintance with human Nature. Persons of 
limited understanding instead of searching the true road to 
heaven for themselves according as it is pointed out by the 
divine precepts, are very liable to be occupied in present¬ 
ing obstacles in the way of their Neighbours, and in con¬ 
sequence of judging men rather by what they have said of 



them than by observing & scanning their Conduct, are very 
apt to imagine and conclude that the road to Heaven is 
found in persecuting those of a different faith — A relic of 
the 14th Century—A Concomitant of Ignorance and Mean¬ 
ness, which disturbs the harmony of Neighbourhoods, and 
degrades & belittles the character of those in whom it is 

Tuesday June 4th A D 1822 

I return'd on Friday last from the Gen'l. Assembly 
where I had been absent four and a half weeks as a mem¬ 
ber of that body, and where I never wish again to go on 
the same errand. There have been two Canal Companies 
& two Banks incorporated. There has been a Retaliatory 
act pass'd Vs. the N York Steam Boat Co. which will for 
a time prevent the run of the Steam Boats, and a great 
many New Statutes. I have enjoy'd myself tolerably ex¬ 
cept that I have been harrass'd by some people at home 
about little petty offices, the Scum of Society is always in 
a ferment about its Honours. I have avoided as much as 
possible all Controversy of this kind. If the people want 
little offices who are themselves little they must apply to 
persons of their own stamp to procure them of which Class 
& description, there are enough in all conscience among us. 
I have felt lonely — very lonely — since my return. I can¬ 
not live in this place, if I could sell my property I would 
say, I would not. There is No Society here except such 
as possess entire different views of things from myself — 
I never can enjoy it. I wish to remove where I can build 
up a new Class of friends, form new Connections and for¬ 
get some that are old—But doubt if I ever shall. 

Wednesday June 5th AD 1822 

Head ache — Cold — dull. I am annually expending 
considerable Money in making repairs about my House & 
place. I have now Joiners making a garden Fence, have 
had men at work at Stone wall. And in one way & another 
am constantly taking up considerable Money — I am fond 



■<\ »i ni 1o : jmnsfb aril aahJilad 4 ©fcOTfab 



‘ ' 



g,. :i • ■ ~ 

«T—— - ^ _Ji rv--- ' 


Library at the “ Maples ”, IVatertown 





of repairing & am Not fond of having much trouble about 
it myself — hence expense. I am fond of purchasing New 
Cloathes, and am Not fond of taking much Care of them 
afterward, so that my Garments are usually new, the same 
in quality at all times except immediately after a new pur¬ 
chase. The annual expense of my Wardrobe at a rough 
estimate I should call $200, and yet I never dress extrava¬ 

The journal ended when Holbrook Curtis married 
Elizabeth Payne Edmond, 1822. It was said that after 
the wedding he took her on horseback to Watertown seated 
on a pillion behind him, dressed in a purple velvet gown 
with a panama “ flat ” on her head. My mother said the 
flapping of the brim gave her facial neuralgia which con¬ 
tinued through life. My grandmother was very handsome, 
tall and dark with delicate features and high color. My 
grandfather Curtis was also tall but fair with blue eyes. 
Both shared a taste for reading and grandfather had a 
keen sense of humor, but grandmother none at all. She 
was carefully educated, knew Greek, Latin and French and 
wrote much poetry. Unfortunately they had no con¬ 
genial neighbors in Watertown and her life was not a 
happy one. My father was born in 1823. Another boy, 
Henry, a year later, and about 1827 a little girl, Elizabeth 
Payne. These two children died and my grandmother 
never seemed to forget her sorrow at losing them. She 
cherished every letter from her father and from her rela¬ 
tives at Newtown, and as they explain themselves I will 
add them here with no other remarks until my Father 
begins his journal in 1840. 


. •• ; 1 1 ■'/ ! 1' 1 :' f ' 

• ' - 


Newtown, June 4th 1823. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Curtis, 



Dear Daughter: 

An opportunity offering for conveyance as I am in¬ 
formed, tomorrow, I improve the leisure this evening 
affords to inform you, that through the goodness of a kind 
providence we enjoy usual health. For this favor we can¬ 
not be too grateful, perhaps the recent instances of mor¬ 
tality among our neighbors has had some effect in impress¬ 
ing our minds with an idea of our continual dependence for 
life & Health & every blessing we enjoy. You have Doubt¬ 
less heard of the fall of Colo. Shepards family, himself & 
wife have both been withdrawn from a troublesome world 
to that world where a the wicked cease from troubling & the 
weary are at rest.” Their Daughter Miss Sophia as it is 
thought by many will soon follow her parents, she has a 
violent cough, is extremely feeble & threatened with a 
speedy decline. Horace does not return to College. Hungry 
Creditors have seized on the property. Capt. Lamson 
Birches wife died suddenly much in the same manner that 
her brother Doctr. N. Perry died. Daniel Perry died in 
3 . fit. It is reported that Abel Botsford, Esqr. is about to 
return to Newtown to live, his wife is in a poor state of 

Master Robert returned to Newtown this dav, he in- 
tended to have made you a visit during the Vacation, but 
the want of a horse and other circumstances rendered it 
inconvenient. William continues in his School. For my¬ 
self I labor as usual, hard work with little profit; after 
much hesitation I concluded to have my house painted, 
the workman has been over it once & we are literally en¬ 
veloped in oil. I shall rejoice when that business is com¬ 
pleted. Your Ma says she has sent you a small bundle by 




Phebe & sends her love along with it. She has carried 
your yarn to Britain to Cousin Mollie Tulley. You have 
right therefore to expect it will be wove in the Course of 
the summer. Col° Starr's family are well, so was brother 
David’s at Virginia a short time since. One of his sons is 
in College, another with a Merchant in the Country. By 
the time you have worried over this several hours I think 
you will be tired. I hasten therefore to relieve your patience 
by only adding my best respects to your husband and that 
I am, with my best wishes for the health & happiness & 
prosperity of you both, 

Your affectionate father 

William Edmond 

N.B. Your Ma wishes me to remind you of your promise 
to make us a visit shortly, also that you will present her 
love to Mr. Curtis. I shall be happy to see you both when¬ 
ever you can make it convenient to come. W.E. 

7 o’Clock A.M. 

Newtown, Sepr. 18th AD. 1823. 
Mrs. Elizabeth Curtis, 

Watertown, Count. 

Dear Daughter, 

When you perceive how many of the family I send 
as carriers of this letter, you will perhaps imagine the next 
load will bring us all on your hands, you need not however 
be alarmed for my old complaint the rheumatism or cramp 
or whatever it may be called & your Ma s infirmities with 
which you are acquainted, will operate as a bar, as your 
husband being a lawyer might call it, for the present, how¬ 
ever ardent our wishes may be to see you both in your own 
habitation. I have not yet had leisure to read many of the 
books Mr. Curtis was so kind as to send me & for the same 




rinnlr, sd 


reason I chuse rather to ascribe it to that rather than to in¬ 
dolence or inattention or want of gratitude that I have not 
before acknowledged the favour under hand & seal, I shall 
not & would not if 1 had time this morning attempt to 
amuse you with the passing events of the day in New¬ 
town. Sarah &c can tell & will be pleased to tell you all 
they know which undoubtedly is much more than has come 
to my knowledge. Accept this as a simple token of remem¬ 
brance, and an assurance that however negligent I may 
be in little attentions, or even the ordinary civilities of life 
both yourself & Mr. Curtis have my increasing prayers 
for your peace, health, prosperity and happiness both here 
& hereafter. Thank Mr. Curtis for the letter he sent me, 
it gave me much pleasure & believe me, every appearance 
to the contrary, notwithstanding, yours & his with esteem, 

William Edmond 

Mr. Holbrook Curtis, 

per favor of Mr. Peck 
Dear Sir: 

Newtown, October n, 1823. 

12 o’clock 

Your favor of the 30th announcing the birth of a son 
attended with such favourable circumstances, relieved us 
not only from a degree of solicitude we could not fail to 
feel, but afforded a pleasure to our family not easy to 
express. Permit us to congratulate yourself and Elizabeth 
on the occasion. That the child may enjoy health, increase 
in stature, live Jong & prove a blessing to his Parents, his 
friends & society is our unanimous wish. I can discover 
nothing in your letter to discourage the hope that this wish 




may one day be realized unless indeed it is the intimation 
of the Physician that the child's countenance has a re¬ 
semblance to his Grandfather's, but whatever his looks may 
indicate I hope he is born to a better fortune. Give her 
Ma’s & my love to Elizabeth 6c tell her in our opinion 
her obligation to be prudent in respect to her health has 
become more imperative than ever 6c we hope she will not 
lose sight of it for a moment, with best wishes for the 
health 6c happiness of your whole family I remain, Sir, 
affectionately yours, 

William Edmond 
P. S. Tell Eliz h Sunday was my birthday Aet. 68. 

Newtown, October 226 A. D. 1823. 

Holbrook Curtis, Esqr. 



Dear Sir: 

Your favor of the 21st instant came to hand this after¬ 
noon and verified my apprehension, that the continuance 
of Elizabeth’s illness was the reason why her Ma did not 
return last week, we had flattered ourselves however that 
she might be so far recovered as to permit of her return this 
day, but Providence it seems for wise purposes no doubt 
has ordered it otherwise. If to pity Elizabeth under her 
affliction would alleviate her pain or shorten the period 
of its duration, she might confidently hope for speedy re¬ 
lief. But as it can do neither we are at a loss what con¬ 
solation to offer. I could tell her indeed that time 6c pa¬ 
tience 6c prudence will sometimes almost work miracles, 
and add a number of other trite observations, but I know 

from experience how insignificant they appear to a person 

in actual distress. If her fever is only the result of the 
inflamation you mention, it will subside very soon when the 


miinoo orii Jsn ’ 1 : Y m bns noon 

-no:> ifidv/ g$ol n )fi 3ifi i^fLisfl ob aeo li lu * - 1 

*£q 3mil ifiriJ boobni isrl IbJ bluc>3 I .13^0 o) noilclo? 


crisis to which her complaint must necessarily come is 
past. I am glad her Mother is with her & to hear that 
she with yourself enjoys health. Mrs. E. need give her¬ 
self no uneasiness on account of affairs at home, while her 
assistance is useful <Sc needed where she is, we all enjoy usual 
health. Col°. Starr was here this afternoon, his family 
are well, he will speak to Mr. Knox tomorrow to carry 
Robert with him to N. Haven on fridav. We shall have 


him equipped and ready by that time. Ann sends her love 
to all. Consider this if you please a hasty family letter and 
be assured of my best wishes for yourself, Elizabeth & Son 
together with Mrs. E. 

William Edmond. 
Newtown, Jan y 8th 1824. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Curtis, 


Con nt. 

Dear Daughter, 

I expect William P. Edmond will be the bearer of 
this who can inform you whatever you may consider inter¬ 
esting in respect to us all, shall therefore omit any descrip¬ 
tion of that state of health &c which under the care of a 
kind providence we enjoy. Your letter to Ann M. was 
the only information in respect to the health of yourself 
& family to be relied on which we had received in four 
or five weeks & came with additional pleasure as it was 
evidence of your convalescence under your own hand. The 
increase of my name sake in weight shows that he en¬ 
deavours to alleviate his misfortune in being deprived of 
the natural resources of gentlemen of his age, by a proper 
devotion to his bottle, to a devotion of that sort I have no 
serious objection provided his affection for the bottle is 
restricted to the milk it may contain. I forward Mr. Cur- 


ariT .bncrf nv/o io»y iabnu a®irrM»l»vn03 iuo< io aombiva 


tis’ Books, thank him for the use &c. am stopped this 
moment by the arrival of the mail & cut short in my in¬ 
tention of filling a page. Love to Mr. Curtis & friends, 

Yours affectionately 

Win. Edmond. 

My Grandmother’s second son, Henry H. Curtis was 
born October 18th, 1824; died at the age of twelve, August 
21 st, 1836. My brother Dr. Holbrook Curtis was named 
both for him and for my Grandfather. 


Newtown, October 12th A. D. 1825. 

Holbrook Curtis, Esqr. 


Con nt. 

Dear Sir: 

The report you rec d of my misfortune is not entirely 
groundless, bringing a saddle downstairs my foot slipped, 
a severe fall followed, this happened the 29th of Septr. ult. 
— since that time I have been exercised with constant pain 
& spasms in my right knee & thigh and am not without seri¬ 
ous apprehension myself that the neck near the head of the 
thigh bone is fractured, this opinion seems strengthened 
by the fact that after a lapse of fourteen days I cannot 
bend so as to sit upright in the bed and at this moment 
am lying at full length on my back while attempting to 
write. Doctors Lacy, Judson & Booth however incline to 
the opinion that the bone is not broken. I regret that you 
or Elizabeth should have experienced any uneasiness on my 
account, it can alleviate none of my pains. Your own have 
been sufficient. That Henry is recovering affords me much 
pleasure. I intended by this time to have been at your 
house & witness for myself the improvement of the children. 
It was otherwise ordered & it only remains for me to sub- 







{IS 2 5] 

mit. As to my bank stock I know nothing but by report 
$2000 would be a heavy loss to me where my whole estate 
amounts to so little. I have not however idolized property 
so much as to suffer the subject to trouble to any great 
extent. In fact I consider my own troubles as compara¬ 
tively light. The Angel of destruction is abroad among 
us, enters almost every House and Death drags his victims 
from almost every Door in our neighborhood as the fol¬ 
lowing melancholy list will evince to which many other 
names might be added. 


Capt. Austin Booth 
Anne, wife of Dan Baldwin 
Dan 1 Baldwin 

A Student at Judge Blackmans 
Booth Glovers oldest child 
Herman Warner's child 
Nath 1 Mallery at the old Church' 

Birdsey Glover 

Elijah, son of Widow D. Nichols 
Austin Beers, &c. 

Miss Anna daughter of Caleb Baldwin 
supposed cannot continue. 

Booth Glover, his case considered desperate. 

I do not pretend to enumerate all the sick. 

Mrs. Edmond & myself think it would be presumptious 
for you or Mrs. Curtis to think of coming to Newtown at 
present & beg you will be contented at home until the sick¬ 
ness subsides — with sentiments of respect &: esteem yours 

William Edmond 

Mrs. E. desires to be remembered to you all. 


s 4 

aornls moil 


Newtown October 25th 1825. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Curtis 

Care Holbrook Curtis Esq. 

Dear Sister. I have thought it my duty to write you 
a few lines from which you will learn that my father’s 
health is no better than when he wrote. From his cheer¬ 
fulness soon after his unfortunate accident we were led to 
believe that its consequences might not prove as serious as 
he at first apprehended. The irksomeness of confinement 
together with the excruciating pain he has undergone have 
(in my opinion at least) materially affected not only his 
spirits but his health. I would not have you suppose how¬ 
ever that we consider him in immediate danger. My 
father & Mother thought it was best not to write to you 
this morning fearing that you might be too much alarmed 
but I have ventured to do it without their knowledge. The 
fever which has prevailed here this summer has somewhat 
abated. The last deaths were B . . n & Squire Dibbly. 

Remember me to Mr. Curtis & assure him that his kind¬ 
ness to me last Summer will never be forgotten. 

By your Brother 

Wm P. Edmond 

We should be happy to hear from you, How do your 
children do? Kiss the little urchins for me. 

Newtown, Deer. 1st 1825. 

Dear Sir: 

I have been hesitating this half hour, whether to at¬ 
tempt writing at all. The reason is I have little if anything 
for the subject of a letter except my poor self and am sure 
a relation of my sufferings whatever they may be can 
afford no pleasure to my friends, let me tell you then as 



briefly as may be that although the covering to my bones 
is considerably wasted I think myself better than when 
3 r ou were here, my spasms tho violent are less constant. I 
can get out of bed with help & sit while it is making, my 
appetite is good & I enjoy more sleep, add to this al¬ 
though this is the Sixty-second day my patience is not en¬ 
tirely exhausted. This is the bright side of the picture, 
the reverse you will readily conjecture, when I tell you I 
cannot sit upright in the bed, have command of the lame 
leg only by applying the hands of myself or another with¬ 
out the least aid from the muscles or tendons — my family 
are as usual making the necessary allowance for the ad¬ 
ditional fatigue and trouble my infirmities cannot fail to 
occasion. We heard with pleasure how you all did by 
Mrs. C. Chapman < 5 c yesterday by the post, the improve¬ 
ment of Master Henry gives, as it must yourself & Eliza¬ 
beth, much pleasure. I did not expect to hear of his pedes¬ 
trian feats so soon. William we know has long been a 
peripatitic & we hope he will soon become a philosopher. 
I stop here as the mail has past while I have been scribbling. 

January 2d A. D. 1826. 

Holbrook Curtis, Esqr. 



Dear Daughter: 

I should have acknoledged the-rec* of your last which 
afforded us much pleasure, but did not receive it until 
eleven o'clock in the evening & was forced to await an 
answer for the commencement of another year, a year that 
we sincerely hope will, as well as many years yet to come, 
be productive of much happiness to yourself, Mr. Curtis 
and the little ones. I think you will be reconciled to your 
disappointment in not sooner receiving an answer when 
you perceive how barren the present is of anything calcu- 




:«iTHau/-U aAafl 



latcd to inform the understanding, amuse the fancy, or im¬ 
prove the heart. I might plead as an apology for not doing 
better my situation which has varied very little from what 
it was when you were here, but I have another directly to 
the purpose which I think irresistible. The winter of age. 
The prime of life has its trials, often severe, but there 
generally is something to lighten the burden, to operate 
as an offset a rational hope that a little time may bring 
happier days & brighter prospects. Not so with old age! 
I speak merely with respect to the enjoyments of the 
present life — just look at an old man — it is worth while. 
I hope you will see many years < 5 c when old age arrives 
I could not have you taken by surprise with feeble & totter¬ 
ing steps (if he can step at all) for music he has no ear — 
for beauty he has no eye, for food, no relish — your 
imagination will readily fill up the portrait & when finished 
add perhaps — here indeed is the shadow, but where is the 
substance? Here is the garrulity of age but where is the 
“ unbounded mind ” that once inhabited this frail tenement. 
To this dull gloomy page I ought perhaps to add “ This 
world a dream accomplished ”, &c. 

January 3d 1826. 

Thanksgiving day here passed by without any remark¬ 
able occurence. There was an illumination of the Church 
on Christmas as usual, how far the audience were enlight¬ 
ened is not for me to say! 

Connecticut Thanksgiving came in the month of Janu¬ 

Between 1826 and the next letter of 1833 m Y grand¬ 
mother lost her little girl and also her brother, William 
Payne Edmond, and there were various letters of condol¬ 
ence. She was taken up with the education of the boys and 
went away very little. My grandfather was frequently at 
Court and in the legislature at Hartford. 



. .• I-! ' 

, >' ). 



This poem was written when she was feeling her loss 
and has all the characteristics of American verses of that 
day — 


Though bright thy morn of life may seem 
Remember clouds may rise; 

And trust not to the transient gleam 
Of calm and smiling skies. 

So tread life’s path in sunshine drest, 

With lowly cautious fear; 

That when griefs shadows o’er it rest, 

Its memory may be dear. 

If dark life’s matin hours may be 
Despond not at their gloom; 

Joy’s cloudless sun may rise for thee 
And hope's bright flowers bloom. 

So trace thy pathway thorn bestrewed, 

That thou in happier hours, 

With pure and pangless gratitude 
May’st bless its fragrant flowers. 

Through clouds and sunshine flower and thorn 
Pursue thy even way, 

Nor let thy better hopes be born 
Of things that must decay. 

Rejoice with trembling, mourn with hope 
Take life as life is given; 

Its rough ascent, its flowery slope, 

May lead alike to Heaven. 

Elizabeth Curtis, 

Newtown, July 5th 1833. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Curtis, 


Dear Elizabeth: 

I avail myself of an opportunity by Mr. Chester Dutton 
to say your mother’s health is apparently much the same 


,Y*rw nova yHj su«iu4 

,»qofc -n^Troft w ftnjtu rlaooi Hi 


as when you were here. It has varied from time to time 
with changes of the weather, with colds, &c. but seems 
after all to assume no fixed character of debilitation or 
amendment, her debility continues, and the swelling of 
the limbs, tho somewhat abated. After Mr. Curtis had 
returned from Hartford & had arranged his business she 
flattered herself that you would make us a visit & often 
expresses her wish to see you & it would be pleasing to 
us all if you would make us a visit without a sacrifice of 
business & convenience. 

Enclosed is a sample of bombazine. Your Mother pur¬ 
chased a yard like it at Watertown, another yard is want¬ 
ing similar to the sample, we have nothing in our stores 
here, that will compare. If you have anything at your 
Watertown stores that will match by obtaining & forward¬ 
ing one yard of it by Mr. Fenn you will confer a favour 
on your sister. Robert was well on 15th June, his business 
increasing. You will perceive by what is written the dif¬ 
ficulty with which I write, was it not for this I might 
send you a long talk on the doings here of yesterday & 
today by way of celebrating not the 4th of July, but a 
great personage now on his tour of observation called & 
known by the name of And^ Jackson, (sarcasm) Doctr. 
Booth’s family are well. My respects to Mr. Curtis & 

Yours affectionately 

William Edmond 

(From Dr. Robert Edmond, Mrs. Holbrook Curtis’ 

New Lots December 3rd 1833. 

Mr. Holbrook Curtis 

Watertown, Connecticut. 

My dear Sir 

Your-favor of the 23 ultimo arrived last evening after 
a detention of some days in the office, occasioned by not 





[ 1 ^ 33 ] 

having visited Brooklyn for sometime past. Immediately 
after your departure we commenced our journey, and 
reached Bedford early in the evening, a large party had 
assembled at Judge Jays to welcome us, among whom were 
a few acquaintances of my Father. After partaking of a 
supper which would have satisfied the most fastidious epi¬ 
cure, and spending the night, we proceeded to Greenwich 
and the following morning took the Steamboat at Sawpits 
for New York where we arrived at four O'clock, and in 
one hour more reached home in safety, when I ascertained 
that the calls for Professional Services had been extremely 
limited during my absence. 

Bucephalus bore the jaunt better than I had antici¬ 
pated I was induced to take the Boat, fearful that his 
appearance might cause some one else to reprove me al¬ 
though he could not. Immediately after our return Mary 
visited New York to obtain Elizabeth's bonnet, not finding 
one ready made to suit her fancy, we were obliged to wait 
some days. More than a fortnight has now elapsed since 
I forwarded it by the Steamboat West Chester command¬ 
ed by Capt Brooks, addressed to Father at Newtown at 
the same time I forwarded a line bv mail to him relative 


to it. I have not received at the present time any answer. 
I called at Mr Armitages ten days ago but did not see 
Elizabeth (Elizabeth Armitage, his niece). I intend visit¬ 
ing New York tomorrow and shall call to see her. Eliza¬ 
beth will find a note from Mary in the Band box upon its 
arrival, if it has not arrived at the receipt of this, please 
write again and 1 will see Capt. Brooks on the subject. 

Fortunes continue to be made in land speculation, the 
purchaser of Parmentiers garden has realized twenty thou¬ 
sand dollars from his purchase, by dividing it into lots, 
some estates which ten years since would not command a 
ten thousand are now worth — fifty thousand dollars. 

The past month as in former years has afforded much 
leisure and has been spent in reading, writing and in ar- 


,rf, .nouBlmoq? bnd ni aba* ad ol tunkaoo 

US 3 3 ] 

ranging matters for the winter. As Mary intends writing 
a few lines I will not trespass any farther. Please re¬ 
member me to Elizabeth, William, Henry and believe 
me yours with affection 

R Edmond 

Dec 3d 1833. 

My dear Sister, 

I was exceedingly disappointed, and sorry to learn, 
through Mr. Curtis’ letter to the Doctor, that the Bandbox 
containing your Hat, had not been received and hope you 
have not attributed it to any negligence on my part. I 
know from experience how difficult it is to get anything in 
the Country, and therefore ordered one to be made soon. 

I have been much occupied since I left you, in making 
preparations for the Winter, as making Carpets, Yalens, 
spread, sheets, pillow-cases &c.— our room is a front one, 
on the first story, and is now neatly, and comfortably fur¬ 
nished, and assumes quite a respectable appearance, for you 
must know, that we call it a Bedroom, or a Parlour, which¬ 
ever we fancy or both united in one. 

I have received but a few visits, or rather calls, since 
my abode here — the New Lots people I understand, are 
not particularly sociable — the remark which you made in 
reference to sociability in your neighborhood is applicable 
to this — my time, and attention, however, have been so 
fully employed, and the Dr. so agreeable, that I do not in 
the least feel the want of society. It would give me great 
pleasure to receive a letter from you & learn how you all 
do, with my kind remembrances, to Mr. Curtis, I remain 

your affectionate Sister, / 


Mary L Edmond. 







Newtown May 27th 1835. 

Holbrook Curtis, Esqr. 

Dear Sir: 

In reply to your favor of yesterday announcing the 
state of health in your family & We also, have not been 
without our share of complaints, none however, that 
amounted to actual confinement for any considerable length 
of time. Ann has suffered the most of any of us & is still 
rather confined. When Robert was last at home he gave 
encouragement of seeing us together with Mary & Child 
if convenient by the first of May. We of course have ex¬ 
pected them daily for four weeks past, but have heard 
nothing from them by letter or otherwise and are entirely 
at a loss how to account for our disappointment. We should 
be pleased to have you take Newtown either going or re¬ 
turning or both in the way of your contemplated tour 
to Brooklyn and hope the journey may be prosperous & 
satisfactory to the health of you all. I have presented 
your request in respect to Aunt Phebe's estate to Doctor 
Booth & in your behalf requested his early attention to the 

That the Legislature should be solicitous to create va¬ 
cancies is to me no way surprising. To create vacancies & 
fill offices with party sycophants seems to be the rule of 
action from the usurper in the Presidential chair down¬ 
ward to every class of his minions, cloathed with a little 
brief authority. “When the political pot boils and the 
scum rises to the top ” then may it be truly said “when 
vice prevails and impious bear sway the post of honor 
is a private station.”* 

The simple admission & discussion of Wightmans reso¬ 
lution to instruct our Senator, in congress to erase their 
own records is in my opinion a gross insult to their under- 

• President Jackson’s administration. 



k . <1 _ i, ii r S' *• i till 

. . ‘ ' 

1 b JP»q 5(1* 'P-w v.9 1 ei'otqmi 1 )T ' v 


standing, a base 6c grovelling submission to the will of a 
despot 6c a sacrifice, as far as it goes of the most valuable 
trait in the Constitution, the independence of that Senate 
which is the short Anchor of safety to the Small States. 
Should the resolution be adopted Connecticut will then 
have set her seal to the last grade of degradation. 

Give my love to Elizabeth 6c sons 

Yours 6cc. 

Wm. Edmond. 

.There were letters from Judge Edmond until a few days 
before his death in 1838. Through age and infirmity his 
life had narrowed down and although he retained a clear 
judgment and interest in public affairs, they seem very much 
alike. William Edmond Curtis was from now on the chief 
interest in the lives of Holbrook and Elizabeth Curtis. 

My father kept all of the letters which he received 
while at school in Cheshire, and one from my grandfather 
explained why he broke away from Yale and sent him to 
Trinity, then Washington College. He thought that in 
a small institution he would have more intercourse with 
the faculty and that as his cousin, Mrs. Chapman, lived 
in Hartford, she would be able to look after him if he 
were sick. The journal now begins which covers the 
years from 1840 to 1880. 


Part /. 


Second Term. 
Freshman Year. 

Jan. 3rd. Friday. With the beginning of .the New 
Year, I begin the second term of my college life, wish¬ 
ing to keep watch of Old Time in his flight and at some 

Washington (Trinity) College 
Hartford — 



| wm a eoos A tltadfixilH ot tkxI \ta jvIO HjjjjH 



.omT bi '■ s ’- 9 “ o0 < v - JI,,nr ) m ‘*'" ?f '" 

11840 } 

future period to review the past course of my life. I com¬ 
mence a labor which I trust to persevere in. Yesterday 
in the severe cold, thermometer below o, I left home and 
rode 30 miles to Hartford in the stage. During the journey 
felt quite sick. Today I recommence my studies, taking 
up Horace, Algebra and Greek majora. 

Sat. We have had a holyday. Have read some old 
newspapers but for the most part have trifled away the 
day. I have resolved that in future I will remain more in 
my room, devote more attention to my studies and over¬ 
come my so great fondness for the society of fellow students 
which encroaches too much on the time I ought to devote 
to my own improvement. Some feuds that existed dur¬ 
ing the last term I hope are ended through the old motto 
“ forgive and forget/' 

Jan. 5th. Sunday. Read 40 pages in Wayland's Political 
Economy. In the afternoon attended divine worship in 
the College Chapel, heard an excellent sermon from the 
Rev. Dr. Totten. The weather though moderated today, 
for the last 4 days has been colder than it has been known 
to be for many years. ... 

Mon. Been through the regular routine of college 
duties very satisfactorily to myself. Have besides the regu¬ 
lar course of studies begun Homer's Illiad of which I 
have read 25 lines, not much hope of reading the 24 books, 
but will try. 

Tues. Passed the day as usual as to college duties. 
Called in at Mrs. Hopkins a short time. 

Wed. Rose in the morning with the headache, a pre¬ 
vailing epidemic especially in study hours which I think 
Trumbull calls “ the student's sweet relief and excuse for 
many a non paravi." I have never experienced the former 
or made use of the latter, of these two redeeming qualities. 
I have, notwithstanding, which word by the by is rather 
a long one, jogged on very comfortably. I find the scan¬ 
ning of Horace scandalous. This is rather a poor pun, 



• [1840] 

but I think it is excusable since I never made one before, 
although on reflection I expect to find it borrowed. Went 
a skating today, drew a line with my body parallel to the 
ice, think it is about time to leave off writing as well as 

Thursday. No remarkable incidents have occurred. 
Spent most of the evening down in the city loafing around, 
went to the Whig reading room, pondered on the benevo¬ 
lence of the kind folk who fitted it up for the accommoda¬ 
tion of the loafers and boys I found there. I then walked 
over to the Democrats one where I found no newspapers 
since they would be of little use to the party. The room 
was full of paintings which I suppose were intended to con¬ 
vey those ideas which they could not derive from the in¬ 
vention of Cadmus. . . . 

Friday. Read some, studied ditto, worst of all sprained 
my left wrist severely by a fall or rather by push down 
whilst skating. 

Sat. It has been one of those leisure days in which 
we have the most to do. The forenoon was consumed in 
the Society. The afternoon in “pottering” according to 
the phraseology of the beautiful Miss Kemble. During 
the afternoon one of those occurrences took place which 
often happens in college life. A new student by the name 
of Ogden has just now entered the partial course, he is 
what is called a green horn although a very sensible fellow, 
yet is so honest and has seen so little of the world* that 
he fully believes everything that is told him. And there 
are always some persons in college who will take advantage 
of these things to play off tricks, he has been smoked this 
afternoon, that is ten or fifteen fellows have been in ever 
since dinner smoking him and firing off quibs. 

Sun. Jan. 12th. Attended Church in the college chapel 
in the afternoon. Heard Doc. Totten preach, have both 
read and wrote some today. / 

*Aug. i, 1842. Ogden says he did not believe one word on my reading this 
to him today. He graduates at this time. W. E. C. 


: i. 

gniiuv [ .aidft* j f :U lull. >■*>} . rtl o riq i 

' 'd'-. pH c . jq l.u ;• - Vc n f ‘r \ 

*13 o n rmd DVBff 8 ¥/oii j i’ lift io iriDJ ei IBxli .infernal» 


Mon. Passed the day in studying and reading Homer’s 
Illiad and the New World. 

Tues. Read thirty lines in Homer and attended to 
other things. 

Wed. I am suffering from severe cold, the variety of 
which does not tend much to do away with the monotony 
of college life. Yea, verily variety is the spice of life. 

Thurs. The weather, that interesting theme in con¬ 
versation when all other things fail, is very cold. Snow 
on the ground. 1 am experiencing all the horrors of cold- 
weather and fretting about it in a warm room. We have 
just heard of the loss of the steamboat Lexington by fire 
on last Monday evening in a snow storm near the Long 
Island shore directly opposite Bridgeport. F.eports say 
that 200 passengers were destroyed, 2 men on a piece of 
the wreck together with an old Sea Captain who was on 
board who escaped on a cotton bale, are all whose lives 
are saved. This accident creates a great sensation in the 

Fri. This day has passed as almost every day in Col¬ 
lege. I will describe it. I wake up in the morning. Hear 
chum bustling about the room and then the first bell for 
prayers begin to jingle, up I jump, on with clothes, wash, 
comb hair, grab cloak, hat, book, and then set off 
for the chapel full gallop. Arrive and take my seat 
the moment the last bell ceases tolling, always punctual. 
After prayers we go to recitation, and then to breakfast. 
At 9 o’clock the study bell rings, at 11 o’clock comes recita¬ 
tion, then dinner. Now we have till 1 1/2 o’clock to loaf 
in at leisure, then another study bell, then recitation at 3 
1/2 o’clock, after that prayers, then supper. There is now 
two hours to go down into the city, etc. Then comes 
another study bell at 7 o’clock, study till I have the lesson 
and now I am writing this at 8 o’clock, and soon shall 
adjourn to bed. . . . 

Sat. In the forenoon I attended the Society meeting. 





- .boi tamoa m b'o 11 in ,agnh ' jc y •«» ' 11 ■ P 



We had an excellent debate by Guion and Wetmore vs. 
Tracy and Beers, concerning the public character of Aaron 
Burr. In the afternoon read one volume of Lady Bulwer's 
novel Chevely or the Man of Honor. Passed the evening 
at Mrs. Chapman's. 

Sun. Jan. 19. I have read the last volume of Chevely. 
In the forenoon staid at home, in the afternoon attended 
divine worship at the college chapel, heard tutor Williams 
preach. (Bishop Williams). 

Mon. In spite of all my resolves at the commence¬ 
ment of the term I find that 1 am growing quite negligent. 
For three or four days I have not read any Homer and 
have neglected my journal. I have been so much engaged 
in reading the autobiography of Baron Trench that I have 
devoted all of today to it. 

Tues. I am getting better of my cold, have been skat¬ 
ing on the river, commenced taking the daily Courant. I 
think Baron Trench exhibits egotism in the manner in 
which he represents himself and his motives whilst he 
throws a dark shade over those parts of his life which are 
deserving reprehension. But all men who write their own 
history do this and who would not? 

Wed. Snowed all day. John Marshall of Virginia 
expelled from our Society the Atheneum, he first sent his 
resignation, it was rejected and charges made against him 
of violating those promises he had made on entering the 
society and insulting it. The counsel convicted and ex¬ 
pelled him. 

Sat. Attended Society meeting in the morning, made 
appointment for Exhibition. Spent most of the afternoon 
in preparing Catalogues to send off per mail. In the 
evening went to Mrs. Chapman’s with Sanford. There 
was an alarm of fire about 1/2 past ? o’clock. 

Sun. Jan. 26th. In the morning went to the Episcopal, 
heard a sermon from Mr. Lee of Springfield, a man pos¬ 
sessed of powerful lungs and able to bawl the loudest of 



KTjftilliW 103 ui bissrf ,bqcrb agalloo srfJ Ifi q biov/ fiivib 

.mid batbq 

sisfTr .Inofcw* ril * A « iqu;0 nl/ ol insw gninrra 


\_ i 840] 

any person I ever heard, in the afternoon listened to a 
discourse from Pres. Totten, the commencement of a series 
of lectures upon the decalogue. 

Wed. Studied, besides regular lesson read 30 lines in 
the llliad, in the evening attended the Institute lecture by 
Washburn of Springfield. On the influence which the dis¬ 
covery of the passage round Cape of Good Hope to India 
had upon the commerce of Europe, to this cause, he attrib¬ 
uted the fall of the Republics of Venice and Genoa. 

Thurs. Fog! fog! I have not seen the sun for three 
days, the deep snow is fast disappearing. We had speaking 
in the chapel this night, it having been deferred from last 
night on account of some dirty fellows burning pepper on 
the stove which caused every person in the room to cough 
violently, and the noise was so great that not a word of the 
prayers could be heard. 

Sun. Feb. 2. In the forenoon attended Church, in the 
afternoon heard a sermon on the first commandment. It 
is Communion day, the person who placed pepper on the 
stove and is guilty of other open immoral conduct partook 
of the Communion, but this is not as bad as the conduct 
of some who are deceiving hypocrites, and under the cloak 
of religion obtain their education and practice such im¬ 
morality as ought to ostracise a man from the pale of decent 
society. I have not time to make a review of the week, 
so good night. 

Tues. Spent the day in studying and reading, passed 
the evening at Mrs. Chapman’s. 

Tu es. Nothing to vary the monotony of regular exer¬ 
cises through the day but speaking in the Chapel. This 
evening I heard a very interesting lecture from Mr. Bur¬ 
gess on the affinity of nations and language. He said that 
the blood of the north of Europe was one common stock, 
the most enlightened nations on the globe as well as many 
other things too numerous to mention. 

Feb. 11. Sun. I have become sadly neglectful of my 


.8'nsn.qi.dD ^ ^ 

tiriT .bqcrO aril ni gniatosq* )ud vcb srti rlyuoiril 29ii3 


poor journal. The days which until now I have neglected 
to mention have passed in much the same manner as usual. 

This morning I heard a sermon from Mr. Croswell of 
Boston. In the afternoon I heard Pres. Totten preach on 
the fourth commandment. We had yesterday a pleasant 
meeting of the Society. I took part in the exercises by read¬ 
ing composition and debating, the evening I passed at Mrs. 
C. During the week I have read 150 lines in Homer be¬ 
sides the regular studies. On Friday evening I went to the 
Democratic caucus. * 

Mon. Took a very pleasant walk on the railroad, 
weather mild and pleasant. 

Tues. It is one of those wet, foggy, moggy days that 
assist in removing the snow which has remained from the 
15th of December en masse upon the earth to the present 
time. I am engaged in preparing an anonymous paper for 
the Society called Gentleman’s Magasine, which calls away 
my attention from the journal. No incidents have occurred 
today worthy of notice except at breakfast in the morning 
a person remarkable for thickness of skull only, thought 
proper to take up some words said in jest as said in earnest 
and to the amusement of all flew into a passion and talked 
very bravely about thrashing me, but at the case in hand, 
the bully showed himself a coward. 

Wed. Thurs. Fri. have flown, and not one word in my 
little journal. Let them go down to oblivion, not a sentence 
to their memory. I have finished and half reviewed the 
first Book of the Illiad in addition to my other studies. 
Perhaps at a future period looking over this page I shall 
ask what was then uppermost in my mind, at this time 
there is no one thing in particular, but a desire to progress 
in my studies with a mixture of politics and the deuce 
knows what. . . . 

Thurs. Feb. 27th. One week has passed and not a word 
in my diary. All the good resolutions I made not to let 
a day pass without writing in it have been broken. The 




T i.i ij . ' - • 



[/< 5 >] 

time I have neglected to record contains nothing of variety 
in college life. But the whole town has been in a bustle 
for the last two days on account of a great young men’s 
Whig meeting or rather convention yesterday. About 600 
procured a steamboat and came up the river which has 
just broken up. 1200 came up in the cars from New Haven 
and the adjoining towns. Great enthusiasm was mani¬ 
fested among the various delegations. Unity, good order, 
and harmony, characterized all the proceedings of the con¬ 
vention and every delegate returned to his house well satis¬ 
fied with the reward he received for his trouble in coming 
many miles through the mud and snow. 5 persons walked 
35 miles of their journey being unable on account of the 
state of the roads to come in any other manner. I attended 
the evening session at the city hall, hundreds were present 
and the room was crowded to suffocation. Among the 
speakers was Mr. Reynolds of New York and Hagens 
of New Haven with whom I was much pleased. When a 
large crowd was assembled at the depot and the cars ex¬ 
pected in with the New Haven delegates a flag appeared 
on the tower of the college chapel, it was cheered by the 
students. The President finding the cause of the cheering 
ascended the tower and removed the flag amidst a universal 
groan. This incident shows that truth is oftener to be 
found in the halls of learning than in the dark places of 
ignorance. Last night I retired late and obtained but half 
an hour’s sleep before called up by the chapel bell so here 
goes obedience to Morpheus! ! ! 

Friday. Sat. We had a pleasant meeting of the Society. 
In the afternoon an attempt was made to raise a balloon 
by Bond and Mackelroy, it proved a failure owing to a 
strong wind and want of skill in sending it up. 

Sun. Feb. 30. Another month has passed away. I have 
not let it do so unprofitably. I have attended to my regular 
studies and in addition to those read one book of the Illiad 
and part of another. I have fulfilled all my Society duties 



. . pH ■ ■ ■ ■ ;: 

• • o . 

I \i840\ 

and written three numbers of an anonymous paper to be 
read in Society called the Gents. Magasine. Today I have 
not attended Church but have remained in my room. 

Monday. Tuesday evening walked down to North 

Wed. In the morning walked down the river 4 miles to 
church, after dinner went to the cotton mills, then returned 
to Hartford, rode part of the way, called on the Miss 
Smiths, was much pleased with them, at Glastenbury. Ash 

April 24, 1840. The exhibition proved satisfactory to 
ourselves and the public. The feelings of fear and embar¬ 
rassment in my own mind were quickly dissipated by des¬ 
pair, and after I had fairly commenced speaking my piece 
I felt perfectly composed. After the exercises the musi¬ 
cians and appointees partook of some refreshment. A few 
bottles of old Madeira were drunk, the remainder was 
brought up to the college. A few of us were seated in the 
room where they were placed, noise was made and Prof. 
Stewart had the impertinence to dismiss us to our rooms 
and report the case to our parents through the faculty. 
Thus ends a college scrape. 

Nov. 17th. 1840. Last night I attended the introduc¬ 
tory lecture of the Young Men’s Institute. It was de¬ 
livered by the Hon. John Q. Adams. The subject was 
faith. He first mentioned the celebrated account of Plu¬ 
tarch concerning Alexander and his confidence in his 
phy sician. He then quoted an extract from the works of 
Jean Jacques Rousseau describing the character of this 
man as being a component of crimes and a gigantic in¬ 
tellect. The quotation was where Rousseau, speaking of 
instructing children in history, mentions the conclusion 
drawn by a child from this anecdote concerning Alexander, 
that his intrepidity in taking a nauseous draught was the 
occasion of the admiration excited by the conduct of the 
Macedonian hero. Rousseau then mentioned his own 


lo cAio'f/ adt fuoi^ }0*ii73 n£ fc j )Uf> rm t 3x 1 -.m;i-is-;d r i 


aor^booo orii Mtoi imm ,y*iottirt ni (unfeiiito ,;ni i 

I \184d] 

opinion,— That Alexander’s respect for virtue was to be 
admired. This, said Adams is my own opinion. He men¬ 
tioned the anecdote as an instance of faith. He then com¬ 
pared this instance with that of Abraham’s in the sacrifice 
of Isaac. The latter portion of his discourse resembled 
a sermon. His personal appearance was by no means re¬ 
markable except a large head. His voice was small, 
musical and very distinct, not a word was lost, slow in 
utterance, quick, not violent in his gestures, he used clear 
perspicuous language embellished with some splendid 
similes, his voice cracked when much elevated. Thus 
much for the ex-President of the United States. 

Dec. 13th. Tues. Eve. I listened to the introductory 
lecture of the Young Men’s Institute. It was delivered 
by Mr. Geo. Bancroft, the celebrated historian. The sub¬ 
ject was “ the progress of history as connected with the 
progress of humanity.” The lecture was good but rather 
too loose and unconnected. The style florid and many 
beautiful figures. I came this evening near being chosen 
President of the Mss. Association. I should have if one 
of the members had not prevented it by urging the objec¬ 
tion “ that I was not a member of the church.” Last Sat¬ 
urday I was appointed Chairman of the Committee of 
Arrangements for the ensuing Exhibition at the Atheneum. 

Thurs. Dec. 29. l / 2 past 11 o’clock. Just returned 
from a party at the Hon. Isaac Toucy's. An old friend 
of my parents. Was introduced to Mrs. Sigourney, con¬ 
versed some five minutes with this celebrated poetess. 

—Part Omitted— 

Wednesday. December 1st. 1841. The first day of 
winter was never ushered in with weather more apropos. 
Last evening I attended a lecture delivered by Elihu Bur- 
ritt, usually known by the name of the learned Blacksmith. 
He labored to prove the non existence of genius. The 


iO ' 


[ 7 ^ 2 ] 

lecture showed a strong mind possessed of a vivid concep¬ 
tion and keen observation, while the florid style and con¬ 
fused figures betrayed an ignorance of rhetoric. 

New Chapter. 


Junior Year. 

January 3rd. Two years ago today I commenced 
this journal. What changes have come over the face 
of all things as well as myself. The college itself 
has altered. H. S. Sanford who commenced a journal 
at the same time with mvself left the Institution first 
term sophomore year. He has now just returned from 
Spain where he has been for his health. Vacation is almost 
gone. I am eighteen years of age! It is necessary that I 
establish now the character which I am hereafter to bear. 
This New Year shall with the blessing of Providence be 
devoted to this purpose. I shall endeavor to be temperate 
in all things, never to surpass the limits of strict truth in 
every conversation. To be grave yet never cynical. To be 
polite towards all persons, to avoid the habit of swearing. 
To exercise strict control over my feelings in speaking and 
imagination. Never wantonly to injure another’s feelings. 
To show a due respect for religion at all times. 

Fri. Jan. 7th. A New term commenced. Attended 
the first recitation this morning. Proff. Brocklesby who is 
appointed to Proff. Davies heard us. His first appearance 
as a man is less prepossessing than as a Processor. May 
my eyes hold good for the ensuing term. I think of attend¬ 
ing a ball this evening given by the light Guards. 

Jan. 10. Mon. I attended the Ball as a spectator. I 
received a letter from my Father Saturday evening, it ap¬ 
pears the President has taken advantage of my misfortunes 
to reduce my standing for scholarship. This is a gross act 


-bn-JiiB \o jlniito I .tn iaj gnluww adi loi boos blori ny? X m 

• C 

r- ' 8i 8 it .qirtmlpfb* ot 3 nib u» vn **1*1 01 


of injustice and as such I will call his attention to it. The 
election for appointees at the Atheneum comes on soon. 
A part may be assigned to me, if so I am at a loss whether 
to receive it or not. 

Feb. 9th. 1842. I have accepted an appointment to 
deliver a poem at the next Atheneum Exhibition. I have 
taken for a subject the Siege of Damascus. It is an ex¬ 
periment, I hardly dare hope for success. 

Feb. 10th. I have within the last hour had the pleasure 
of shaking hands with Mr. and Mrs. Dickens. Mr. Dick¬ 
ens is favorably known as a distinguished writer. He has 
edited the Pickwick Papers, Nickolas Nickleby, ’etc. 
They are well received throughout the country. 

Thanksgiving Day. Nov. 17th. 1842. This day was 
mostly consumed in a journey with Miss E. Bellamy to 
Lebanon. On the 18th. which was Friday I went to Nor¬ 
wich where I visited the grave of Uncas. I returned the 
same day to Lebanon and on the next reached Hartford 
after an extremely pleasant visit. 


We have some hours of merry gladness, 

And some of quiet, sober joy, 

And all the rest is bitter sadness, 

That’s gilded like a childish toy. 

I sought for pleasure where men seek, 

In Beauty's rapture, glowing smiles, 

With burning lips I pressed the cheek, 

But turning cursed the Siren’s wiles. 

I sought it at the festive board 

Mid sparkling wine, and wit and song, 

But when my fancy upward soared 
I saw the ghosts of misery throng, 

I sought it in the lighted halls 
Where fortunes votaries kneel, 

And watch the shifting card that falls, 

With eyes of hope and hearts of steel, 



Then I cursed the world and all it gives, 

And wrapped me in my mantle cold 
And walked the earth, as one that lives 
With neither heart nor hope, nor soul, 

T’was then I met the pleasant one, 

Whose gentle memory lingereth still, 

As the twilight of the summer sun, 

Sleeps soft upon green wood and hill. 


Senior Year. 

Second Term. 

January 5th. Thursday Eve. Three years have passed 
since I commenced a journal, and although I have far 
from faithfully attended to it, the blotted skeleton recalls 
vividly the fading scenes of my past college life. This 
day ushers in a new term at the commencement of a new 
year, and may kind Providence continue those many bless¬ 
ings for which I have every reason to feel the most fervent 
Gratitude. And may I be governed in all seasons by these 
rules which I again write in my journal that I may more 
faithfully observe them in future. 

January 8th. Sunday Eve. Have not attended church 
today. Passed the forenoon in writing and the afternoon 
in reading Gutslaff's voyages on the coast of China. I 
have just parted with an old friend who sails next Tuesday 
for New Orleans, Robert E. Jackson of Tennessee. He came 
from home last spring and could have entered our class, 
but preferred joining the Partial Course. Pie leaves partly 
on account of his health, and partly from a natural rest¬ 
lessness that makes him desirous of change. In the course 
of human events there is but a slight chance of my ever 
meeting him, and if I should, time, and the changes of 
circumstances will doubtless have rent the few ties which 
bind fellow students. 



•j ol : lo a- *>*1 J Iwdofl ,9n&\ iG w*H ioi 


February 6th. Monday. I have been annoyed since 
Friday evening, with what I think must be a lemon-seed 
adhering to some part of my throat. I shall take some 
medical advice if I do not soon find relief. The weather 
is very cold and the ground covered with a thick mantle 
of snow. Yet in spite of wind and snow and choking throat 
I shall call on Mrs. Sigourney during the evening. 

February 9th. Thursday. Dr. Ellsworth thinks my 
throat will not give me any serious trouble. Tuesday 
evening I called at Mrs. Chapman’s, Miss Clerc's, Mrs. 
Sigourney’s where 1 intended to have called the evening 
previous. Mrs. Sigourney is mild and unassuming in her 
address and manners, and very agreeable in conversation. 
She related several anecdotes concerning the Mohegans, 
and spoke of a sister of Uncas whom she had once seen. 
Last evening I attended with Miss Eaton the Institute 
lecture. It was delivered by young Dana, the author of 
“Two Years Before The Mast.” The subject was the 
“ Source of Human Influences.” His style was simple and 
pure, his delivery distinct and slow but rather sing song. 
Fie handled the subject in a vigorous manner, but was 
rather deficient in method or I should say in the arrange¬ 
ment of his discourse. Tonight I shall attend a party at 
Mrs. Chapman's. 

February 14th. Tuesday Eve. St. Valentines. Last eve¬ 
ning I attended a small party at Misses Drapers. It was 
very pleasantly managed, and at rather a late hour I found 
myself in bed. Tonight it is cold, and the snow drives 
against the windows with all the force of the North East 
blast. The storm has lasted from morning. All are en¬ 
gaged in reading or writing Valentines. I have done 
little to my oration for the Exhibition as yet. Tempus 
does Fugit. 

March 1st. Ash Wednesday. Attended a party last 
night at Mr. Cones. Had some conversation with Ex- 
Governor Ellsworth. Last Friday evening attended a large 




party at Misses Drapers. I have completed my Oration 
for the Athencum Exhibition. A letter reached me the 
other day dated at Rome Dec. 20th 1842, from H. I. San¬ 
ford with whom I commenced the first part of this journal. 
God’s blessing be with him. 

Friday evening March 10th. A splendid comet is now 
visible in the South West. Its nucleus is below the horizon, 
but its tail extends 90 to the Zenith. It appears unex¬ 
pectedly and creates quite a sensation. Tomorrow I oppose 
in Society the British Claim of a right to search American 

Friday evening March 17th. The comet presents a 
more brilliant appearance than a week since. It appears 
at half past seven P. M. and fades about nine P. M. We 
shall soon see it in the morning. Wednesday evening the 
tribunal of Seniors and Juniors tried and reprimanded a 
Freshman for impertinence, profanity and vulgarity, 
“c’est t>ien.” 

Saturday Eve. March 18th. The comet is “ non esse 
videndum,” this evening from the clouds which have con¬ 
trived to wholly obscure it. I was absent from Society 
during the morning. Passed some time at the Young Men’s 
Institute reading room, in hastily perusing the remini¬ 
scences of Colonel Trumbull. Called at Mrs. Chapman’s. 
Passed most of the afternoon and evening at Governer 
Ellsworth’s. Drank tea there in company with Proff. 
Stewart, Proff. Jackson and Lady, Dr. Elsworth and lady, 
Governer Ellsworth and ladv, Mr. Oliver Ellsworth and 
his two sisters Misses Harriet and Elizabeth. Miss Har¬ 
riet has a strong masculine mind, richly stored with in¬ 
formation, which her colloquial talents and wonderful 
sense enable her to display to the best advantage. Miss 
Elizabeth combines rare personal attractions with a 
simple goodness of soul that renders her an object of in¬ 
terest and respect. 

Monday afternoon March 20th. I have just finished 



Mme De Stael's Corinne. I never read a French novel 
with more exquisite pleasure. It elevates the mind and 
improves the taste by its rare combination of valuable 
knowledge and noble sentiment. The character of Corinne 
fills the soul with respect and admiration, it is nobly de¬ 
lineated, and worthily sustained. 11 s'est enfin arrete, 
ce coeur qui battoit si vite. Adieu done." 

Tuesday evening March 21st. Two weeks from to¬ 
night and the nineteenth Anniversary Exhibition of the 
Atheneum takes place. We had our first rehearsal tonight, 
or the attempt, for very few knew their pieces. I among 
the number was minus. The clouds have moved away, and 
after three nights of concealment the comet blazes forth 
in all its splendour, though now fast sinking in the west. 
Last evening, left Corinne at Gov. Ellsworth’s, called upon 
Miss Humphreys ditto Miss Dunham and found that the 
latter lady had concluded her visit in the city and re¬ 
turned to New York. Called also upon the Misses 

Monday morning March 26th. Yesterday attended 
Mr. Coxe’s Church. Have commenced Mme. De Staels 
L’AIlemagnc. Convalescing from the first cold I have 
had in four months. The rivers are closed with ice, and 
the snow is lying the depth of a foot on the ground. We 
have had sleighing for the last two months and I see very 
little prospect of our ceasing to have it for two months 
more. The comet is passing to the North East. Shines 
brilliantly clear each night. 

Tuesday evening March 27th. Very clear and beauti¬ 
ful this evening. The day has been warm and the rain 
lallen in torrents. It has carried off about one third of 
the snow. Today I took the stump to electioneer for myself 
as a candidate for the office of President of the Missionary 
Association of the College. The Election took place this 
evening. I was very desirous of obtaining the office, for 
some peculiar reasons. My chance was small. There were 


i . • <i ,-t ■ ’ ;i : i,[ 

' I \i843\ 

two candidates beside myself and I have now for the first 
time since I have been a member of college failed in at¬ 
taining any post that I desired, (at the disposal of my 
fellow students). 

Tuesday April 4th. “ End of the term The Ex¬ 
aminations of the Senior Class have closed. I have suc¬ 
ceeded in passing all, though I had reason to think I might 
not, my eyes having prevented me from making due prep¬ 
aration. The Athenaeum Exhibition took place last eve¬ 
ning. I figured as one of the Orators and have much 
reason to think I appeared creditably to myself and the 
Society. This will be my last appearance on the Old 
Chapel Stage. 

Vacation Saturday April 8th. Left Hartford and went 
in the stage to Plymouth. M. N. Butler carried me the 
same day from Plymouth an Watertown. 

Friday April 14th. At six o’clock in the morning I 
left home in the post-carriage on my way to New York. 
The rain fell continually throughout the day. The roads 
were choked with mud and snow and everything combined 
to impress me with the belief that I was suffering a penalty 
for travelling on Good Friday. Stopped at the Pavillion, 
which I reached about 3 o'clock p. m. Wrote a letter to 
John I. Kerr and lay down wearily to sleep among stran¬ 

Saturday April 15th. Left New Haven at 5 a. m. mid 
fog and rain by the steam boat New York. Obliged to 
lie to by the fog and after a tedious passage varied only 
by reading the New World and eating dinner, I arrived in 
New York at half past two p. m. cheated by my hackman 
found my friends well at Brooklyn, attended a 
book auction that evening in Broadway. 

Sunday April 16th. In the morning heard a young 
clergyman preach a sermon, an hour and a half in length. 
The entire substance of the discourse could be condensed 
into ten minutes. In the afternoon I heard a Catholic 



. . llfifi 1 

• C 1843] 

Priest, I believe Bishop Hughes, at the Barclay Street 
Chapel. He preached without notes, his delivery good, 
his style florid, yet not so as to interfere with the logical 
nicety of his arguments. The subject was Auricular Con¬ 
fession. Returning to the Ferry I passed through Anthony 
street which conducted me through the Five Points. The 
degradation, the squalid wretchedness of God's image, was 
never more disgustingly presented to my sight. In . the 
evening I listened to a sermon in Dr. Coxe’s Church by 
the Rev. Dr. Mason. The production of a strong mind 
yet as I think some of its premises. The subject 
of the sermon was the “ injurious tendency of works of 
Fiction.” Dr. Mason differs widely from Lord Karnes, 
but the present class of novels has grown up since Lord 
Karnes wrote. 

Monday April 17th. Rain. Rain. Visited the rooms 
of the Merchants Library Association. Saw a few fine 
paintings there and Audobons paintings of birds. Went 
to the Academy of National Design but found it closed. 
Went to the Court Rooms at the City Hall, to the Police 
office at the tombs and the State Arsenal. In the evening 
I went to the Chatham Street Theatre. Heard Forrest and 
Miss Clifton in the Patricians Daughter and the Gladiator. 
Was delighted with the performances. Returning with my 
• young companion Filly, to Mrs. Mortons at a very late 
hour he found his pass key missing. Then came the climax 
of the tragedy, there we stood for an hour in the cold and 
rain ringing and knocking to gain admittance, ere we suc¬ 

Tuesday April 18th. Rain. Rain. Visited Mrs. But¬ 
ters. Purchased Kents Com. for $12. and in the evening 
went with McLean and a student from Saint Mary’s to 
Niblos Gardens to hear Mr. Russell sing. An audience 
of two thousand was assembled, the Beauty and Fashion 
of New York. His songs were simple yet touching, his 
accompaniament on the piano splendid, and every word 




ill ■;;} 7 > h ,n 41 . if In . . 


distinctly heard. Passed the night with Samuel McLean 
at the City Hotel. 

Wednesday April 19th. In the morning visited my 
old friends at the Theological Seminary. Saw Ogden 
whose appearance at college I noticed in my journal of 
Freshman Year. Dined there. In the afternoon visited 
Mr. Bickers. Returned to Brooklyn, dressed, and in the 
evening called with McLean at Mrs. Chapman’s and Mrs. 

Thursday April 20th. Rode out in the morning to Uncle 
Roberts, returned in the afternoon. In the evening went 
to the Park Theatre, stayed only long enough to hear the 
“ Merry Wives of Windsor.” Hackett played Sir John 
Falstaff, not as good as I anticipated. 

Friday April 21st. In the morning called at some of 
the law offices. In the afternoon rode out to Greenwood 
with Miss Whitmore and Miss Griffin. Intended to go 
home the next day but found it necessary to remain if I 
wished to enter my name in an office for the purpose of 
having the.three years of my legal study commence. Passed 
the evening at the Orphans fair in Brooklyn. 

Saturday April 22nd. Spent the morning in preparing 
affidavits to procure a certificate of Clerkship. Wrote a 
letter upon the subject to President Totten. Visited my 
friends at the Seminary, spent the evening at Mrs. Filly’s. 

Monday, April 24th. Steamboat was to leave at six in 
the morning. Got on board at a quarter past five for fear 
I should be late, on account of the fog it did not leave 
until 8 o’clock a.m. We arrived at Bridgeport in about 
four and a half hours. Dined at the Sterling Hotel. Waited 
in the cars three hours for the steamer connected with the 
line to arrive. Much amused by an old lady. Reached 
Newtown in one hour, went to Dr. Booth’s. Called that 

evening with Cousin Mary at-Next went to 

bed and slept gloriously. 



Tuesday April 25th. Rode on horseback to see my 
cousin Dr. Wm. Booth. Found him well, village peasant, 
played backgammon. Dined, visited Mrs. E. Armitage’s 
grave, the Gaol, and the Rev. T. T. Guion. Played whist, 
took tea and rode back to Newtown in 1 hour and 45 

Wednesday April 26th. Woke up, found every limb 
lame, and every muscle sore, the horrible next day of a 
horseback ride. In the afternoon left in the post carriage 
with Aunt Ann for Watertown. 

End of Vacation Ramblings. 

Thursday April 27th. Rain. Rain. Here am I 
bruised and sore at Watertown, writing out the journal of 
my travels with a cheerful fire and a comfortable room 
to console me. 

Monday May 1st. Last Saturday was thrown from a 
horse, struck upon my head, which yet pains me although 
no external injury appears. Dr. Elton thinks it a jar and 
has prescribed physic. Tomorrow I shall go to Hartford, 
though I am forced today to keep in my room. It rained 
violently last night, it is now clearing off with a high wind. 
Played draughts with my Aunt Ann. This is the last day 
of a burdensome vacation. 

Sunday May 14th. During the past week I have read 
“ Rienzi ” or “ The Tribune,” and commenced my Oration 
for Commencement. Subject, “The Elements of National 


I 12 


{ 1843 } 

Greatness.” Commenced teaching myself how to write a 
respectable hand, poor encouragement this. No leaves on 
the forest trees or college hedge yet. 

Thursday May 18th. Last Tuesday I accompanied 
President Totten in a surveying expedition to learn the 
height of Talcott Range of hills. We measured them by 
the Barometer. We found the height above the level of 
the Connecticut 663.2 feet. Last evening I attended a small 
party at Miss Goodridge’s. I was invited on my Fathers 
account to Governor Ellsworth's to a party given by him 
to the members of the Legislature. Tonight I attend a 
small party at Bishop Brownell’s. 

Tuesday May 23rd. Summer has at last come forth 
in all its beauty. The weather is delightful. Last evening 
I attended a party given to the Senior Class at Prof. Jack¬ 
son’s. I find that this dissipation unhinges the mind. 

June 3rd. I have attended during the past week the 
hearing of the petition of Martha E. Miller for a divorce 
from her husband Charles F. Miller before a committee 
of the Legislature. The trial excited deep public interest. 
The case was argued in behalf of the petitioner by the late 
Lieutenant Governor Charles Flawley and Ralph Ingersoll, 
for the Respondent by Charles Chapman and Isaac Toucy 
Esquires. Mr. Hawley made a sound, able plea, simple in 
style and enforced by a good deal of action. Mr. Chap¬ 
man’s manner was good, he presented his subject in the 
most clear and distinct manner, and treated it with warmth 
and energy. His style is remarkable for perspicuity and 
elegance, while he manages the pathetic and the satirical 
with equal dexterity. Mr. Toucy is cold and dignified in 
his speaking unless warmed into excitement, which is not 
often the case. Mr. Ingersoll speaks with fluency. He 
appeals to the passions of his auditors in a very effective 
manner, and his peroration was truly eloquent. 

Friday June 9th. The Legislature adjourned yester¬ 
day morning and Father returned home. Last Monday I 


k ‘ ,i rbidw o^rti v-rrnr n teolnu g . >c\i ?ifl 


procured some of Aaron Burrs papers and correspondence 
etc. I found them lying on the deck of a steam schooner 
at the wharf. There were several large bales of his and 
other persons papers which had been sold and shipped 
to be remanufactured at the mills in this state from New 
York. Some persons more successful than myself found 
among the mass which we were searching, original verses 
of Burrs, letters from Washington and other great men of 
that day. 

Monday Eve. June 12th. This morning commenced 
writing my Commencement Oration on the Roman Law. 
Have prepared myself to write upon that subject in some 
measure, from Selden, Grotius, Kent, Gibbon, Blackstone 
Pufifendorf, etc. This evening walked out to the college 
grounds with Cousin Charlotte, Miss F. Shelton, and Miss 
Elisa Trumbull, a descendant of the old Governor. I 
have seen very little of Miss Trumbull, but I can say she 
is the only lady I ever saw whom I would like to have 
for a wife. She is beautiful, accomplished, and amiable, 
and if I was brought much into contact with her per¬ 
chance my stoicism would forsake me and I, even I would 
fall in love. But alas tonight my gaiter heels were an 
inch and a half high, so that in addition to being dull, 
miserable and awkward, I tottered along like a tipsy giant. 
Bon Soir. 

Saturday June 17th. The anniversary of the battle of 
Bunker Hill. Upon this day and perhaps at this very hour, 
John Tyler and the people of the United States are cele¬ 
brating the completion of a monument that when the grand¬ 
child of every man gathered there shall have rotted in the 
grave, will yet stand to commemorate a great and solemn 
event. Evening before last I called with Marshall at Mrs. 
Sigourney’s. Met there Dr. Jarvis and the Poets, the “ Rev. 
Messieurs, Everest and Coxe.” Last evening I attended a 
very pleasant small party at Mrs. Woodbridge’s. This 
morning debated in the Society the Puritan Question, spoke 
in behalf of the Puritans. 

4nfci fi JjrifiS bai-mol I .bur/iv/fi bns 

J ■ ■ 4 1 ; ■ 

I JS43] 

Wednesday morn. June 21st. Monday I was elected 
College Marshall, for the purpose of officiating at the re¬ 
ception of the President. Last evening I was at a Con- 
veratione or party at Mrs. Sigourney’s “ Cottage ornee." 
Today the Chief Magistrate was to have partaken of the 
hospitality of the citizens of Hartford. After officiating 
as Marshall I anticipated a great pleasure in meeting 
the President and Cabinet at Mr. Bridge's at a party given 
in honor to John Tyler and Suite to which I had been 
invited. But alas, For the vanity of human expectations. 
The President is prevented from coming by the sudden 
death of Mr. Legare, Attorney General. There will ac¬ 
cordingly be no parade, no broiling in the sun. 

Monday July 3rd. For the last ten days it has been 
intensely hot. Mercury being up to 88, afternoons upon 
an average by Fahrenheit’s thermometer. A striking 
change in the temperature of the atmosphere occurred yes¬ 
terday, in less than 4 hours the mercury fell from 90 to 70. 
Last evening was at a small party given by Oliver Ells¬ 
worth who leaves tomorrow for Valparaiso. Prof. Jack- 
son has invited me to go with him to the Mediterranean. 
I have written Father upon the subject, but I entertain no 
hopes of him permitting me to go or furnishing the funds 

Tuesday July 4th. Mr. Hortons of my class and San¬ 
ford delivered the poem and Oration in the Athenaeum 
this morning. Walked downtown with Sterling of Louisi¬ 
ana. He met a Yankee clock-pedlar who had often staid 
at his friends houses in L. The pedlar was a fine speci¬ 
men of a Yankee, shrewd etc. and asked Bill to come out 
to New Hartford and pay him a visit. Quite a military 
but not much civic display in the city. Listened to an 
oration from Mr. Hammersley in the South Church. Here 
I am in No. 43, intending in about an hour to go and see 
the fireworks, so much patriotism. 

July 10th Monday. I have nearly completed my ora¬ 
tion for Commencement upon “ The Roman Law.” I 






i niyjiu? A .lowmormaiU ifrbriimrU ! X 1 8 >,3V f f* 


■hyat onft e unr «lt»q -J «U wuoA ,bi»nl l.d in 


[ 1843 ] 

have been appointed by the Society to deliver the Valedic¬ 
tory in behalf of the graduating class, before the Society. 
Yesterday evening listened to a Lecture from the Presi¬ 
dent, upon the proofs of Christianity. Last Friday evening 
was invited to a party at Mrs. Robert Watkinson’s and to 
another at Mr. Grant’s Cottage, where I very pleasantly 
passed the evening. 

Monday July 17th. College days are drawing to a 
close. It is a sad thought that one must leave the walls 
where life has flowed so smoothly, and the friends whose 
example, and whose intercourse, have been, the former a 
source of profit, and the latter a source of pleasure. Life 
is before me, and I am already careworn in determining 
what course I will take. Thank Heaven I have disposed 
of one bore, my oration for Commencement “ The 
Roman Law It is completed, passed through the Presi¬ 
dents hands, and nearly committed. I stand third in rank 
at the next Commencement. This standing is better than 
I dared to hope for when my eyes were so weak, but the 
President told me last week that if I had not lost a little 
standing in Greek Tragedies 3rd Term Junior, through 
the diseased state of my eyes that I would have taken the 
Valedictory Oration. I have been elected by the Society 
to deliver the Valedictory before them from the Gradu¬ 
ating Class. It would have gratified me to have taken the 
first or second honor at the Commencement when my class 
graduated, but Providence by afflicting me with a heavy 
dispensation deprived me even of the power to effect it. 
Many lose the disposition to attempt it, many think them¬ 
selves unable, but when one has a prize of some value, and 
it is in his grasp, to lose it sends some sorrow to the soul. 
God grant that this may not be the type of my success in 
life. Give me anything but disappointments. 

Wednesday July 19th. Within the last hour I have 
attended the last recitation of the Senior Class. God knows 
that with a heavy heart I passed for the last time the oaken 

r/firf I mod ml odj nirti.W .dlQt ^ba-rSa // I 

'Ll 843'] 

threshold of a college recitation room. About 2200 reci¬ 
tations have I attended in college. The President invited 
the class to a party at his house tomorrow night. In dis¬ 
missing the class the President paid a very handsome com¬ 
pliment to the scholarship and ability displayed during the 
year he had heard our recitations. Prof. Jackson sailed 
yesterday for Europe or rather left here for the purpose 
of sailing soon. 

Friday afternoon July 21st. This is the first day of the 
vacation previous to Commencement. Yesterday I passed 
my examinations and the Class were dismissed until the 
morning of Commencement. Last evening we all attended 
a party given by the President. Mr. Castenis, a Greek, a 
native of the unfortunate isle of Scio was present. He is a 
gentleman of great classical attainments and refined man¬ 
ners. He is worthy of Greece in her better days. I have 
seen him years since in the Albanian costume, the most 
magnificant and picturesque I have ever seen worn. And 
as he repeated the lines, so beautifully written by the La- 
Fayette of his country: 

“ Oh who is more brave than the dark Suliote 
In his snowy chemise; or shaggy capote?” 

Or as he danced brandishing his Turkish sabre, and strik¬ 
ing the sheath of his attaghan to the sound of the Albanian 
war song, one’s blood thrilled with the lofty or sad thoughts 
which came crowding upon the mind. He was speaking 
of practising law upon his return to Greece. I observed 
that “ in his native land there were objects enough to stir 
up eloquence ”. “ Yes ” (he replied), “ there is enough in 
Greece to make a dead man eloquent.” The party was very 
pleasant and broke up about midnight. I have spent today 
very unprofitably, but quite “ a la vacation ”. 

August 1 st Tuesday afternoon. It is really a sad time 
for us seniors. With me it is a most busy one. Vacation 
has passed or rather not been. 




VS 431 

August 3rd. Commencement is over except the party 
which is to be this evening at the President's. College life. 
Good Night. The world is before me. God grant that I 
walk the path of an upright man. Last evening met a 
gentleman at Mrs. Sigourney’s where I took tea, an ac¬ 
quaintance of Sir Walter Scott. His name was Prevoes. 
I had the third appointment in the class. My Oration 
upon the Roman Law was successful, but I am sick and 
have been for the last three days. 

Watertown August 3th. Saturday afternoon. I left 
Llartford yesterday noon. 1 have recovered from my ill¬ 
ness, shall leave soon for New York where I intend to 
study law. The quiet of this little village is soothing and 
attractive as compared with the bustle of a College Com¬ 
mencement, and the hurry of packing up and leave-taking. 
This is the last of college life during which this journal 
was brought into existence and continued. As I turn from 
the tranquil scenes of the cloister for the last time, if I may 
use the phrase, to the busy hum of life and exertion, I can¬ 
not take leave of my classmates without some little record 
of them in the order in which they have for almost four 
years sat upon the recitation bench. 

First. Joseph P. Taylor of Glastonbury, Conn. He 
is the son of an Englishman who has respectably educated 
a large family, though he has only acquired means as a 
sail maker. He is about 24 years of age, pious, a good 
scholar, and intends to take orders. Pie is kind, perser- 
vering, and honorable. 

Thomas Preston of Hartford, Conn. He is the son of 
a flour merchant, a self-made but respectable man. 19 
years of age, pious, a good scholar, and intends to take 
orders. He is dificient in delicacy of feeling, and judg¬ 
ment, and is rather fond of talking about his principles. 
He is a High Churchman, rather florid in composition and 
may rise to eminence in the Church. 



Francis Clerc Hartford, Conn. He is the son of Laur¬ 
ent Clerc, a Frenchman and teacher in the Deaf and Dumb 
Asylum at Hartford. Both of Clercs parents were deaf 
and dumb. He was sent to France at nine years old and 
returned at 16, accomplished in the French and tolerably 
versed in the German, Greek, and Latin languages. He 
is 20 years of age, pious, a good scholar, and intends to take 
orders. He is a good writer, amiable, and frank in his feel¬ 
ings and actions while conscientious in the highest degree. 
He is the most perfect character in the Class and has a 
sound and comprehensive mind. 

Sanford /. Horton Medway Mass. His parents are 
dead. He pursued the trade of a cabinet maker. Caught 
in a religious excitement, he turned his attention to study. 
Fie grafted Episcopacy upon his old Puritan stock. . Hor¬ 
ton is about 27 years old, pious, but often led astray by the 
violence of his passions. Not possessed of that application 
or vigour of mind necessary for a good scholar, and in¬ 
tends to take orders. He possesses the faculty of making 
himself at once a favorite with every pious woman over 
50. He is kind and warm in his feelings. 

William E . Curtis Watertown Conn. He is the son 
of Holbrook Curtis, a lawyer. He is 19 years of age and 
intends to study law. 

Henry T. Welles Glastenbury, Conn. He is the only 
child of an old and respectable farmer of that name. He 
is 22 years of age and intends to study law at some future 
period. Welles is deficient in energy and frankness, and 
somewhat cunning. Great prudence is his chief attribute. 
He is a passable scholar and liberal, or rather, not mean. 

James Lawrence Scott, Boston Mass. His Father died 
leaving him young and poor. He was an apprentice to a 
copper-plate printer. After his apprenticeship had ex¬ 
pired he continued to work at his trade, though sometimes 
acting parts at a theatre in Boston. He became pious after 
he had laid up from his wages more than $1,000. Fie 




then commenced studying, though previous to this he had 
published some tales and fugitive poems. He is 30 years 
of age. His talents for composing and the want of early 
mental discipline have prevented him from taking a very 
respectable stand as a scholar. His is preparing to take 
orders. Scott is kind and obliging with a rare fund of 
wit and anecdote. Pie is a warm friend and a bitter enemy. 

William Long New Hampshire. He is the son of an 
old sea captain nearly 80 years old, who after following 
the seas for 50 years retired with a large family upon a 
small farm in New Hampshire. William Long worked 
in early life as a carpenter. He is about 28 years old, pious, 
a good scholar, and intends to take orders. He is some¬ 
what irritable in his feeling and contracted in his views 
of things, but honest, sincere, and persevering. 

Henry Vibbert Gardiner. He is the son of a shoe¬ 
maker from Windham, Connecticut. Gardiner first fol¬ 
lowed his fathers profession. Then that of a Methodist 
priest and finally entered college so as to take orders in the 
Episcopal church. He is about 30 years of age, pious, a 
most miserable scholar, and a person utterly void of all 
greatness of thought, soul, or feeling. His little soul re¬ 
volves in a smaller sphere and is only great when greedily 
swallowing the ultra movements of the day. 

John Ker Eastville Va. He is the son of a physician 
who is also a merchant and of Scotch extraction as the 
name purports. Pie is 20 years of age, inclined to dissipa¬ 
tion, a negligent scholar, and intends to be a physician. 
(We sit upon the recitation bench in the order in which 
we were examined to enter College). He entered College 
third term Freshman. Ker is one of those persons who are 
injured by being thought a genius. Pie possesses good abili¬ 
ties, great beauty of person, is a handsome declaimer, and 
good musician and mimic, and has a great deal of wit, gen¬ 
erosity, and good nature. On the other hand he is idle, 
wanting in moral principles, and unless something inter- 



5>i noijDAitttt IjHo! » r >pr ^ ; u » *^ 0i - ^ 

■ / . 1 ; - 


venes, will go down into his grave an object of commisera¬ 

George Ker, a brother of the former. He is 19 years 
of age, moral, and intends to study medicine. He is the 
reverse of his brother. Of moderate abilities, yet by his 
perseverance a good scholar, selfish, narrow in his views, 
and avaricious except for the gratification of self. Ill 
natured, yet by his perseverance and selfishness he will pro¬ 
vide well for himself through life. 

Fielding L. Taylor of Bell Farm Gloucester County 
Va. lie is the son of a lawyer who died some years since. 

18 years of age, a poor scholar, and intends to be a lawyer. 
He is rather vain and fond of exhibiting himself as the 
son of the Old Dominion. He is young and his good 
qualities are perhaps obscured by the temptations of youth 
and inexperience. 

Nathaniel B. Marshall of Faquier County Va. Fie is 
the son of a planter and the grandson of the late Chief 
Justice. Aged 20, a good scholar and intends to be a phy¬ 
sician. He is small but handsome, and polished in his 
manners. He possesses generosity, courage and vanity, but 
is in reality superior to many who affect to despise him. 
He with F. L. Taylor entered college first term Sophomore 
as did John Weller Priest of New York City. Priest is 

19 years of age, pious, a good scholar, and intends to be a 
civil engineer. He is the son of a clerk in an auction store 
in New York. He is one of those characters who are fated 
to be the dupes of mankind. Inexperienced yet in their own 
estimation not shrewd and sharpsighted they are forever 
the victims of some humbug. So it is with Priest. In 
college his name has become the synonym of gullibility. 
Yet he is a superior mathematician, a fellow of infinite 
reading and information, and withall most sincere and will¬ 
ing to listen to advice from a friend. Yet most of it seems 
thrown away upon him. 

Fred crick IV. Cornwall of Cheshire, Conn. He is the 
son of a deceased Episcopal clergyman, aged 22, a decent 




scholar, moral and docs not know what profession to pur¬ 
sue. Cornwall is deficient in energy and conversational 
powers. He never does a foolish thing or a wise one. Fie 
entered ist term Soph. 

Thomas Davenport Ozanne of the Isle of Guernsey, 
is the younger son of a Frenchman residing on that Island. 
He joined the class 3rd term Senior, is about 28 years of 
age, pious a good scholar, and intends to take orders. He 
possesses a vast fund of information and some accentricities. 
Beers and Bradin who took their diplomas with us have 
always recited with some former class. 

Thus have I sketched briefly and imperfectly the char¬ 
acters of my classmates. So that when old age steals upon 
me and memory recalls the scenes of college life, I shall 
have some slight memorials of “ auld lang syne.” My prin¬ 
cipal associates in the class were partly from choice and 
partly from accident. I give their names place here be¬ 
cause God knows we are never to meet again as we have 
so often done. J. P. Taylor, Clerc, Marshall, and F. L. 
Taylor “ mes amis.” Many have left our class as they 
have from various causes left college. Among those who 
have left were Norman L. Brainard now in the Law School 
at Harvard University. Henry L. Sanford now on his way 
to the Azores, Edward L. Newton studying law in Wis¬ 
consin, Stephen Noble, I know not where he is, Edward 
C. Franklin studying medicine with Dr. Motte in New 
York. Andrew A. Welton and Oliver his brother died 
Junior Year. Walker who left third term Freshman. 
F. A. Boardman who is married in Ohio. This is all that 
I remember now who have left the class. I have now done 
with college life, this is the last entry. Henceforth, I am 
in the world and shall speak of the things in the world. 
But it is with a heavy heart and sorrowing eyes, that I 
gaze upon the new prospect which opens before me. A 
new Era dawns, the Old Regime has passed away. With 
a sad heart do I write that here is, 



pztnou'Q \o old oi\t to \ 

. j . . ; . ' } 


August 9th. Left home 6 a.m. rode in the rain to New 
Haven, came in the boat to New York and at 7 p.m. was 
domesticated at Miss Hayt's 209 Fulton Street. 

August 10th. Went to Mr. Livingston’s office gnd 
commenced Blackstone, walked in the rain to Brooklyn and 
got well soaked, though I brought an umbrella to keep 
me otherwise. 

Friday night August 11th. Read twenty pages in 
Blackstone, copied in the office three hours, and dined at 
Delmonico’s, with the Apollls, so a few who dine at that 
establishment are termed. Among whom are James and 
Samuel McLean and a Mr. Wallace, all Scotchmen and 
Mr. Filley T and myself from the land of steady habits. 

Saturday night Aug. 12th. Been at the office all day. 
Read 33 pages in Chittys Blackstone 2nd Vol. Dined at 
Delmonicos with Mr. Wallace, he is a high Tory. Dis¬ 
puted with him about O'Connel and the success which has 
attended our institutions, I was sleepy all the afternoon 
from eating too much dinner, formed a resolution not to 
make a hog of myself in future. Coming home suffered 
myself to be cheated out of a sixpense, said nothing but 
hoped the poor man would get his next sixpence in a more 
desirable manner, moralised on it but before I left his shop 
he tried the same manoeuvre in a different form. Find my 
time passes very pleasantly at present. 

Monday night Aug. 14th. Last Saturday evening I 
rode with Mr. Filley to Coney Island. We left Brooklyn 
an hour after sunset, and drove the whole distance 10 1/2 
miles in 70'. The full moon rose in splendid beauty. For 
the first time I stood on the shore of the broad Atlantic, 
the surf breaking at my feet. Everything in nature united 
to give an increased effect to this Heavenly Diorama. 
Yesterday I heard Mr. Bachs preach in the morning, in 
the afternoon I staid at home, today I have been in the 
office most of the time reading Blackstone. Life drags on 



[. 1843 ] 

in the beaten path. The old stumbling blocks are ever 
presenting themselves, gluttony, idleness, and frivolity 
waste many precious moments. Mrs. Filly and her sweet 
little child have arrived today. Blackstone served up as 

Friday Aug. 18th. One day is the Daguerreotype of 
another. I may as well give the history 24 hours to answer 
for all. At half past six in the morning I rise, at 7 break¬ 
fast, at 8 go over to New York and sit in the office and 
read Blackstone until 10 when Mr. Livingston and clients 
then enter. I then pause or write until 11 when I com¬ 
mence Blackstone and continue reading until 1/2 past one 
o’clock when I give up the civilian for the inner man and 
dine at Delmonicos, the French Restaurant, upon potage 
and pastry. I then return about 1/2 past 2 o’clock and con¬ 
verse, read newspapers, etc. until 1/2 past 3 o’clock. I then 
read the learned Knight Sir William until 6 when I cross 
over to Brooklyn, sup at 7 o’clock and spend the evening 
at my room writing, reading, etc. at half past 10 o’clock 
I retire, and sleep until 3 o’clock in the morning, then come 
the market waggons rattling over the pavements, and I 
remain until the hour of rising, rolling upon the mattress 
and trying to shut the noise out of my ears. 

August 24th. Thursday Eve. My eyes have regained 
their usual strength. I have read the first book of Black¬ 
stone and have reviewed about 100 pages. Passed last 
evening at Mrs. Mortons. Monday night we were visited 
by a terrible storm, the turfed terraces of the Heights were 
swept away, cellars filled, etc. 

August 29th. Tuesday morning. I have commenced 
Warren’s Law Studies. Sunday Attended Mr. Johnson’s 
Church, and resolved to do so in future for three reasons. 
1 st. because I shall go to that Church from its being near 
to my boarding house with greater regularity than to any 
other. 2nd because I shall hear Prof. Henry preach, a man 
whose talents I highly respect. 3rd. because I can pro- 


A 2 ** >b3lift " Elb3 ,V ' £7/E ,qa '" 2 

ii8 4 3\ 

cure a seat there at the least expense. Yesterday two col¬ 
lege friends called at the office, Chas. Matthews of Louisi- 
anna and Wm. Colt of Hartford, Barrows is also in the 
city. I called to see them last night but found them out. 

September ist. Friday eve. The first day of autumn 
comes with the appropriate accompaniament of a north 
easter. Tuesday I attended a Buffalo Hunt. Shades of 
Nimrod. A buffalo hunt at Hoboken! About 3 p.m. I 
reached the scene of action, about 600 acres I should guess 
were enclosed in a post and rail fence and five yards from 
this another fence surrounding the former and in the inter- 
val the baffalos were to be pursued and taken with the 
lasso. It is said 40,000 persons were present. The buffalos 
were set at liberty in the Lane. The hunter dressed as an 
Indian on horseback commenced the pursuit, the music 
struck up, the dense masses of people rushed forward to see 
the sport, one buffalo was fairly captured with the lasso, 
when suddenly breaking the enclosures some rushed into 
the area and some into the fields without. The hunter now 
commenced his task in good faith, the people ran, and the 
buffalos ran, one man fell from a tree and died, and sev¬ 
eral persons were slightly injured by the animals. Very 
many sad and ludicrous incidents occurred. I stood in a 
New Jersey marsh with the mosquitoes torturing me and 
the sun pouring the most suffocating heat upon my head 
and not one breath of air Abraham like stirring, yet laugh, 
I had to at some of the scenes. One buffalo dashed through 
the Elysian fields down the rocks and struck out far into 
the Hudson and when I left the ground they were still at 
liberty and rushing frantic through the country upon all 
sides. I spent the evening very pleasantly at Mrs. Mortons. 

Sunday 6 o’clock p.m. Sept. 3rd. Heard Prof. Henry 
at church this morning. This afternoon I commenced and 
finished Capt. Basil Flails “ Winter at Schloss Planfield in 
lower Styria.” Have not for years read anything that has 
more deeply interested me. The death-bed of the Coun- 


J ' 1 



& 843 \ 

tess, the grief of Joseph, are described with a simplicity 
equal to Sterne. It is circumstances, the realities, not the 
description which moves. I have commenced reading a 
few lines in the Iliad every day after dinner. I commenced 
at the XVI Book where I left off two vears since. . . . 

Written 24 lines of would be poetry and entitled it the 
Norwegian Emigrants Lament or Song, Sept. 4th in de¬ 
fault of other matter I write in the choice repositor afore¬ 
said : 

Norwegian Emigrants Song. 

Swift glides the bark upon the wave. 
My Fathers braved this sea, 

And though the winds so wildly rave, 
There is no fear in me; 

Far from the hills that gave me birth, 
From all that still is dear, 

And from the old ancestral hearth, 
O’er the broad deep I steer. 

Old Norway sleeps beneath the sky, 

A summer cloud at rest, 

That dimly lifts its head on high 
Up from the water’s breast. 

Oh then “ Good Bye ” to Fatherland, 
My heart must stay with thee, 

For sad 1 seek the distant strand, 
Where no one cares for me. 

But why should 1 regret the past? 

And why should I repine? 

These griefs may not forever last, 

And joys may yet be mine; 

Our Northern Skalds have sung of old 
The treasure of that shore; 


1*8 f3] 

And rich with furs, and rich with gold 
I’ll see my hills once more. 

Then fill the bowl, the Runic Bowl, 

And quaff the liquid fire, 

Bright visions float around my soul, 

Of home and kin and sire; 

I’m on the mountain side again, 

Where I was wont to be. 

But why rejoice, it is in vain? 

Life’s toils are o’er for me. 

Sept. 9th. Saturday night. The week is almost closed 
and I have passed it less profitably than I could have 
wished. I sent my poem to the Editors of the New York 
Tribune, it is not yet in print and I think there are some 
reasons in the matter itself why it should not be. 

Wednesday evening, Sept 13th. Copied two declara¬ 
tions that consumed most of the day, and commenced read- 
ing Blackstone II Book of Review. Called last evening 
upon Mrs. Butters. Inquired if she was at home, found 
that she had been brought to bed with a girl since I was 
last there, discussed a bottle of porter with the happy hus¬ 
band, I came down to Brooklyn at half past ten. 

I'riday eve. Sept. 19th. Have been for some time 
reading Lyttleton’s Letters upon English History. Have 
this moment finished the reign of Henry VIII, the style 
in which they are written is chaste, figures properly in¬ 
troduced, few, but not always happy. I read it so that 
I may gain a better knowledge of Blackstone. Life passes 
very pleasantly with me. 

September 29th. I am twenty years of age today. The 
longer I live the more forcibly am I struck with the many 
proofs that the Bible is the work of inspiration. No eu- 
logy has ever yet portrayed a minimum of its merits. To¬ 
day I step forth from the teens into manhood. From the 
walls of a college and the endearing intimacy of many 




warm hearts I have emerged to take my stand upon the 
broad stage of life. 

Saturday eve. Oct. 6th. A dreary Northeaster without, 
and a cold heart within. 3 weeks since I joined the Hamil¬ 
tonian Literary Association, many of the members are 
young lawyers, and fine speakers, so that I anticipate much 
pleasure and profit from the connexion. Next Monday 
eve I make my debut, upon the constitutional question, 
“ Can Congress rightly make the Abolition of slavery con¬ 
ditional upon the admission of a Territory into the Union.” 
My heart sinks at the thought of rising to speak. I only 
trust that I may not leave the impression that I am an over¬ 
grown blockhead, for so I must appear in comparison with 
my colleague and opponents. Norman L Brainard, Frank 
Clcrc, J. P. Taylor called upon me yesterday. Last evening 
I heard Macready play Hamlet, he commenced hoarse and 
ended admirably. 

Monday eve. Oct. 16th, Find myself moved into the 
third loft. Attended Air. Johnson's Church and Mr. 
Stone's Church yesterday. 

Oct. 20th. 8 of 12 p. m. I have this moment returned 
from the Park Theatre having heard Mr. Macready play. 
I had the pleasure of listening to him the other evening in 
Hamlet but his Macbeth surpasses anything. His words 
yet ring in my ears. “ He was not for a day but for all 
time,” is truly said by Shakespeare. World how ungen¬ 
erous thou art, Some for thy welfare devote fortune, happi¬ 
ness, life, but to the bard only thou yieldest immortality. 
“ Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” I may say with 
Macbeth for it only lacks 20 of tomorrow. The clock is 
striking. Life is like a “ poor player that struts his brief 
hour upon the stage.” “ Malheur! malheur! comment 
echapper aux pensees qui naissent dans mon ame et se sou- 
levent contre moi?” 

“ Dies irae, dies ilia, 

Solvit saeclum in favi 11a, 


Mul 8irl zusin ifiril 13 /Klq tooq “ fi 3>Ul *f aki J 

Iudex ergo cum sedebit. 

Quidquid latet apparebit. 

Nil inultum remanebit. 

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? 

Quern patronum rogaturus? 

Cum vix iustus sit securus?” 

“ Ciel! pourquoi done suis je ne?” 

Oct. 21st. Slept little this morning and have felt miser¬ 
ably all day, done nothing but trifle away the time. 

Thursday evening. November 2d. For a long time I 
have neglected my poor journal. It has been too cold to 
write in my room, but tonight I have a cheerful fire upon 
the hearth and can well afford a few words. Scarce a 
fortnight is the interval, yet how much is there to record 
which has varied the quiet of my monotonous life. I am 
appointed to speak against this proposition of Adam 
Smith’s next Monday eve at the “ Hamiltonian ”. Viz 
‘ 4 That without legal regulation, all the capital and labor 
of a country, will, of a necessity, be fully employed and 
applied the most advantageously to the owners of Capital, 
those who perform the labor, and to the whole society.” I 
shall commence preparing myself tonight. I have shaken 
hands with Marshall Bertrand within a few days. He was 
short, fat, and bald with bright black eyes, short whiskers, 
white face, wrinkled, with blue coat and pantaloons and 
white vest. He appeared to be a brave great and good man 
and so he is. I was the other day at the sight of Wiers 
embarkation of the Pilgrims. “ God is with us ” is upon 
the colors. 

Nov. 3rd. I have today been introduced to Col. John¬ 
son the “ Killer ” of Tecumseh, he is short, fat, dressed in 
black with white head and light blue eyes and appears 
to be almost 70 years of age. He is gentlemanly and erect 
in his bearing and is quite affable. Air. Alorton had a 
second hemorrhage at the lungs this morning, it was owing 
I fear to his imprudence, God grant that he recover. 


.eioloo on) 


November 5th. Sunday night. Heard Prof. Henry this 
morning, listened to Dr. Hawks this afternoon who de¬ 
livered an eloquent discourse upon the proof of the divinity 
of Christ. He is a fine looking or rather appearing man 
and speaks admirably. 

Nov. 10th. Friday evening. Passed the evening with 
Henry Sanford who has lately arrived from the Azores. 
His Uncle the late M. C. was present. Saw Fanny Shelton 
last evening. I have just seen a notice of the death of Col. 
Trumbull. He is the last of Washington's Aids. Truly 
it may be said “ the last link is broken I have often 
hoped that I should have the pleasure of meeting him 
somewhere but that will never be at least upon earth. He 
was of the same age as my grandfather Edmond. 

November 12th. Sunday eve. Heard Dr. Hawks 
preach this morning. He was excellent in style, sentiment, 
and delivery. It is cold, dark, dreary November weather. 
I have attempted this evening a few lines which shall go 
into this repository of “ omnium versum 

The summer leaves each autumn blast 
Whirls rustling at our feet. 

The summer days with clouds o'ercast 
No more we joyous greet; 

So man is like the flowers of spring 
That sweetly bloom awhile 
But autumn storms will surely bring 
A pain for every smile. 

But storms will not forever last 
The clouds will pass away 
That gathered now so thick and fast 
Form such a dark array 
The summer of our hopes will come 
And brilliantly the sun 



[I $43] 

Shall break upon that harvest home 
Where man his course has run. 

Nov. 12th. 1843. 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Nov. 16th, Thursday eve, and a dark rainy Nov. eve¬ 
ning it is. I yesterday found that the young man was not 
about to leave Mr. Jordan's office until May next whose 
place I wished to occupy there as student. So that I find 
myself disappointed after having made arrangements to 
enter that office. I must make another arrangement. Mr. 
Morton had another hemorrhage of the lungs this evening. 
His condition is extremely critical. God serve him a 
restoration of health is my fervent ejaculation. Yesterday 
I visited Mr. Leavitt’s house for the purpose of seeing the 
paintings, many of them are very beautiful. In the eve¬ 
ning I called upon Mr. Butters where I passed the evening 
very pleasantly. I saw Mr. Jones there whom I have not 
seen for a long time. The 7th of this month I commenced 
Kent’s Commentaries. Perhaps it is the November air that 
weighs heavily upon my spirits but many vexations and 
disappointments seem hanging like clouds around my pros¬ 

The shades of night have gathered ’round, 

The chilling blast sweeps by, 

While rattling comes the tempest’s sound, 

Like squadrons rushing by. 

Oh sad this night is to my soul 

When mournful thoughts draw near, 

As funeral knells that sadly toll 
The death of one that’s dear. 

My childish days have fled for aye, 

My youth hastes to its prime, 

While scarce a star is in that sky, 

Where points the hand of time. 



Shall vain Regret, and broken hope, 

Embitter all my life? 

Oh no! with dauntless soul, I’ll cope 
In the unequal strife. 

Wm. E. Curtis 

Evening. Nov. 16th. 


Nov. 17th. Friday eve. Passed most of the day in 
drawing and copying two Supreme Court Declarations. 
Priest called in the morning to see me. I have spent the 
day pleasantly and profitably. 

When cares corroding pass away, 

And leave the troubled spirit free, 

Hope sheds her light upon our way, 

Like moon-beams on the stormy sea; 

Then clear the path, and fair the gale 
While heedlessly we spread each sail. 

Nov. 18th. Saturday eve. In one hour more and one 
week of the precious few allotted to man will have passed, 
irrevocably passed. Read some, wrote some, and walked 
some today. Priest spent the evening with me. 

Time, time, oh quickly thou fliest! 

Man, man, thou confest, thou diest. 

Nov. 19th. Sunday eve. Have passed the day at Uncle 
Robert’s. Walked into Brooklyn in the afternoon. I 
brought with me a number of my grandfather’s letters to 
his daughter Mary. Mrs. Armitage commenced copying 
them into a book, but the work was arrested by her death. 
He was truly a great and good man, and he showed it in 
the field of battle, in the councils of the nation, and upon 
the Judicial Bench. God grant that my life may be like 
his. / 



The voice is hushed that oft of yore, 

Broke sweetly on my ear. 

And in this weary life no more 
Its soothing music shall I hear. 

Nov. 20th. Monday eve. Drafted a Foreclosure Bill 
in Chancery “ mon permier attendat.” Read 20 pages of 
Kent’s Corn’s. Shall go to attend the Hamilton this eve¬ 

Nov. 21 st. Tuesday eve. Went to Whitehall at noon 
to see Capt. Coggshell off who sails today for England, 
he has boarded with us for some days and we have become 
quite attached to him. He is a fine good-hearted old 
gentleman. Wrote a letter this afternoon. My old college 
friend and tutor M. F. Hyde arrived here tonight. I 
have done little today at the law. Time passes faster than 
I improve it. Conversing with Mr. Hyde brings college 
days fresh to my mind. 

Those years have gone, those pleasant years, 

So sweetly passed of “ auld lang syne,” 

Like childhood’s hopes and childhood’s tears, 

They never never will be mine. 

But memory brings those scenes to view, 

As distant sunshine to the soul, 

That shows in colors clear and true 
The Past where clouds obscuring roll. 

But I shall soon forget those days 

Like fleeting dreams shall see them pass 
When journeying on, this frame decays 
And cares my weary steps harass. 

Nov. 21st. 12 o’clock, 
p.m. 1843. 

Nov. 25th. Sat. eve. This is the anniversary of the 
evacuation of New York. Sixty years ago and the noon- 


• - 1 Hi . - fit 

1 18431 

day sun shone for the last time on British bayonets as 
their columns defiled from Broadway to the place of em¬ 
barkation. The military display of today was good. 
Marshall Bertrand and the Compte his son reviewed the 
troops at City Hall. Last evening I heard David Graham 
speak at the Court of Sessions in behalf of Ragge and his 
wife. His delivery was fluent and forcible. His action 
vehement. His position was erect while his countenance 
was very expressive. In short though I think that he wants 
the graces, yet he certainly possesses all the effective pow¬ 
ers of the orator. He is very ingenious in reasoning and 
has a capital knowledge of the law. Time glides by with¬ 
out my making that progress in my law studies which I 
deem most desirable. 

Life is short, and Time is long 
Man is weak, but God is strong. 

Nov. 26th. Sun. eve. Have not been to church today. 
Read some and copied some of grandfather Edmonds 

Tuesday Nov. 28th, eve. Last evening I called upon 
Miss Betts. Today was at the trial of Snowdon and Mil- 
lett. Patent case. 

Dec. 3rd. Sunday eve. Heard Mr. Johnson in the 
morning. Walked out Myrtle Ave. after church. At sun¬ 
set walked.with Mr. Hyde to the Heights south of the 
city. The view was enchanting, one of Nature’s and man’s 
most glorious panoramas. 

The shadows of night were gathering around, 

The blasts of December swept piercingly by, 

While a wanderer gazed in sorrow profound 
O’er a scene of rare beautv, the cloud-crested skv. 

Dec. 8th. Read 100 pages in Kent, at the City Hall, 
at Bartlett and Welfords book store, saw an arithmetic 
manuscript 1435 date, a copy of the Theodocian Code, etc. 
and the Rev. Wm. Morgan. Thanksgiving Day. 



1 ^ 43 ] 

Dec. 14th. It is extremely cold. The mercury is at 
15. I shall dine at Mr. Morton’s and then go over to New 
York. The family are at Church. College Thanksgivings 
and college days are passing into the horizon. 

Christmas. Attended mass at the Cathedral this morn¬ 
ing. Pynchon called after my return. This is to me a 
most lonely Christmas. Classmates and old friends are 
scattered far and wide. Life looks cheerless and dreary 
yet I thank God for many blessings. 

Dec. 27th. Wed. eve. One year has almost gone, to 
how little purpose have I lived for more than twenty years. 
I have some prospect of entering another office for the 
purpose of studying. But some untoward circumstance I 
fear will intervene to break it up as has been the case in 
now so many instances. 

Dec. 28th. Fri. eve. This day has passed not without 
some events interesting to me. I have made an ar¬ 
rangement with Mr. Noyes, to enter his office on the mem¬ 
orable 8th of Jan. next. I have also finished Kents 
Corn’s, after reading them carefully and looking out many 
of the references. I have today learned that Elizabeth 
Prince is to be married to Mr. Child of Rochester, her 
brother informs that he is a suitor every way desirable, 
Heaven give her such a one! She has been the playmate 
of my childhood, and the companion of my maturer years. 
She is handsome, amiable, and has a fortune. She truly 
deserves a good husband. Yet the idea of her being 
married seems to me much the same as her being buried. 

Youth and its scenes fade in dimness away 
While its hopes and its joys in sadness decay. 




I '■ 



• - . ' ■ • 

I J843] 

January 4th. Thurs. eve. It is four years yesterday 
since I commenced this journal. It seems but a day. How 
differently am I situated now from then. Old friends and 
college scenes are fading in the distance while alone and 
fearful I go forth into the broad world. 

Shall we mourn for the friends that are scattered and gone? 
Shall we mourn for the joys that no more shall return? 

Jan. 8. Mond. eve. This memorable anniversary is a 
day with events for me. I have left Mr. Livingston's 
office, and commenced studying at \Ym. Curtis Noyes’ 
office, 34 Wall St. Mr. Livingston felt apparently less 
reluctance to make the transfer than I did to announce my 
wishes in regard to it. He is an amiable man and I am 
under obligations to him, but I think I shall enjoy greater 
advantages where I now am. I made my appearance at 
the new office at 10 a.m. Mr. Noyes gave me Burrills 
Practice to read and Graham's Jurisdictions. Everything 
appears well. Mr. Noyes is a man perhaps of 40, gentle¬ 
manly and quiet in his manners, and to give my first im¬ 
pressions of the occupants besides him, I will begin with 
Mr. Marvin who is a Counsellor. He is pleasant and 
good natured, ill favored by nature but his voice and con¬ 
versation evince such goodness of heart that all is over¬ 
looked. Mr. Williams is another employee there, I have 
seen very little of him during the day. He struck me as 
less intellectual than the other two gentlemen of whom I 
have already spoken, he is not 30, and has a fine flow of 
spirits. There was an old man of 70 there who has been 
writing all day and scarcely spoken or moved from his 
chair, except to walk to the grate and warm his hands 
as if the blood did not flow freely through his aged limbs. 
I do not know his name but I should think he was an 
Englishman. He is quite corpulent and looks as if he 
liked a glass of porter. There are three young men there 
about my own age. The oldest, whose name is Powers 
appears to be employed as a clerk, he was engaged all day 


I .bliovz bsoid 3dl o)n. rilioi og 

I moriw to MBttflsj owl iswlio aril n*rit hutMllMni -- 



in writing and keeps a great many papers. He appears 
like an intelligent and industrious person. The next in 
age I was not introduced to, he impressed me rather un¬ 
favorably. The youngest of the three is named Lee. He 
is good looking, industrious, and amiable, i.e. judging from 
appearances. The last person in the office that I saw today 
was a boy named Henry. He is small and ugly aged about 
13. He is however rather humorous and seems to be quite 
the butt of the office. 

Jan. 14th. 1844. Sun. eve. I have today listened to 
two sermons preached by the Rev. Dr. Cunningham who 
is here collecting money to build free Churches in Scot¬ 
land. Will the flame of Republican Liberty ever burn 
on those altars. It is a little spark but if God spares my 
life I trust I shall see a bright flame. The Dr. is a tall 
large man with a large head and most intellectual phiz. 
Dined at Mrs. Morton's today. Am reading the 21st. book 
of the I Iliad. 

Jan. 23rd. Fri. eve. Was invited last night to a musical 
soiree at Mrs. Hulls’ but like a clown chose to remain 
absent. I have rather more copying to do in my new 
office than is quite desirable. Things glide on pleasantly. 

As all of my entries are made in the evening there is 
no necessity of my announcing the fact. Sunday I was 
at the Dutch Reform Church, corner of Fulton and Wil¬ 
liam Streets. Received a letter today from N. B. Mar¬ 
shall, it is very pleasant to hear from an old classmate. 
Yesterday I saw the ship Zurich launched, it was a goodly 
sight. The Stripes and Stars, the Tricolor, and the cross 
of the Canton of Zurich floated from her rigging as she 
glided into the arms of her betrothed. God speed her. 

Jan. 26th. Every day like the one that precedes it. 
Cousin Charlotte leaves tonight, or rather I have taken 
leave of her tonight, she goes in the morning. This or 
some other cause renders me low spirited tonight. 




{ 1844 } 

Why has God made me as I am? 

A being weak, forlorn 
Who in the bitterness of grief 

Doth curse the day when he was born. 

Why has God made me as I am? 

To walk this world alone, 

And in the fulness of my heart 

To look for bread, and find a stone. 

Oh God! Thou are most good, most great, 

Thou rulest for the best, 

Then when Thy chastenings heavy fall 
Teach me to feel that I am blest. 

Tues. night Jan. 30th. We have had several days of 
the most intensely cold weather, mercury within 6 or above 
zero. I confine myself closely to law and have very little 
leisure for society, reading or any other pursuits, I lost my 
temper tonight for the first time in many months, and it 
was for a succession of trivial causes. I showed it very 
little if any. 

Jan. 31st. Thus glides one month of 1844, forever 
gone, 31 of the days allotted me have passed, and I trust 
not unimproved. I am reading Montgomeries Lectures. 
Passed the evening in “ brown study ” and reading 225 
lines at the commencement of the XXII Book of the Illiad. 
No poetry ever touched my feelings more sensibly than 
the entreaties of Priam’s and his wife to Hector without 
the walls. Nature herself could not more aptly paint the 
despair and the supplications of the aged and agonized 
Mother than it in these lines. * * * * All the above quota¬ 
tion was written by my learned friend Marcus F. Plyde, 
who compassionating my puerile mode of writing Greek 
took the pen and most unintelligibly finished the quotation. 
However future generations will consider Hyde a great 
critic and scholar if he lives. 



12UU T bn* bsmq 3 V*d am baJJoilr. a^r.b xil to i?. .anog 



Sunday Feb. 4th. Attended Church this afternoon at 
Dr. Cutler's. Yesterday finished Cruise's Digest to Vol. 
V. Finished Graham's Jurisdiction also. H. S. Sanford 
is in town. 

Feb. 7th. I have done little this week, small things 
have given me uneasiness. FI. S. Sanford was here last 
night at a Ball with many more of my acquaintances. I 
passed the night at the Epis. Seminary with my old friend 
J. P. Taylor. This was scene second in the drama of 

Feb. 9th. All is dark and dreary, at times sunshine 
pours in upon the mind, this life is an odd compound, for 
a few days past, when I hoped to be most happy I have 
been most miserable. Why is it? I know not unless it is 
that I have neglected the duty which I owe to God as 
well as to myself. 

Oh! Where have gone the happy hours! 

When all was summer sky, 

My pathway strewn with loveliest flowers, 

As hope stood smiling by. 

Oh! on the wings of Time they fly, 

And o’er the trembling chord, 

Swift glides the hand of agony, 

A writhing soul is stirred. 

Feb. 18th. I have attended Dr. Cutler’s Church today. 
This afternoon three officers of her B. M.’s ship Vestal 
were at church. Two of them very ordinary appearing 
men. They are said to have been intoxicated the other 
night at the Native American Ball. Have not heard from 
home lately. Am going in debt etc. I received two hand¬ 
some catalogues of the Athenaeum the other day. They 
were printed from the materials I left, they seemed like 
old friends. 


JB boO O) ov/o I tbidw *lub aril b^mlyri r/ori I i»tH 

fc oib sni!<i r*rt srfl is o bnA 



Feb. 24th. Last Tuesday I finished Cruise's Digest. I 
learn that the Rev. James Noyes is dead. Pie married 
a Holbrook, an Aunt of my Father's, and the families 
were formerly very intimate. Pie was a half brother 
of Prof. Silliman, and graduated at Yale College in 
1782. I have derived much pleasure and profit from the 
little intercourse I have had with him. His character 
as a man and a clergyman combine all that was pure, 
amiable and lovely. He fully answered Chaucer's descrip¬ 
tion of a country parson. He described to me the imposing 
appearance of Washington as he appeared to him (a lad) 
as he visited the public buildings and colleges at New 
Haven on his way to take command of the army at Charles¬ 
town. Mr. Noyes was at Newport with his father in law 
Gen. Silliman at the time the French fleet was there, and 
was very hospitably entertained on board of the Com- 
mandents Ship. Fie has at length been cut off not in the 
vigor of youth or in the prime of manhood, but after hav¬ 
ing far outlived his “ three score and ten ” and faithfully 
discharged his duty in every relation of life. 

Feb. 25th. I have attended Dr. Cutlers Church all day, 
both sermons and the Act of Confirmation in the morning 
by Bishop Onderdonk. This prelate writes with great clear¬ 
ness and vigor. His sentences are short, words few and well 
chosen, and his style is not in the least flowery, or figura¬ 
tive. His figure is noble and imposing, but his delivery 
is too dogmatic and rapid, Mrs. Filley was confirmed. 
After Church I walked to the Fleights opposite Governors 

March 2. Saturday. On the afternoon of Feb. 28th 
a large gun blew to pieces on board of the Princeton off 
Alexandria killing Judge Upshur and the Hon. Mr. Gil¬ 
mer, Com. Kennon et al. It was one of those sudden and 
terrible calamities which appear to be sent by the Al¬ 
mighty to enforce the truth “ that in life we are in the 

(Note. See Trial of Bishop Onderdonk.) 




« , i -i m AT. I I 


midst of Death Henry S. Sanford has been here for 
some weeks. 

March 3rd. Sunday. Attended Dr. Cutler's Church 
in the morning. This afternoon walked over the hills 
south of the City with Sanford. Have read of late Dickens 1 
Christmas Tree and Eugene Aram. I have today com¬ 
menced Matilda by Eugene Sue. I find in this journal 
the following entry for Jan. 6th. 1840. “ Have besides the 
regular course of studies begun “ Homer’s Illiad 11 of 
which I have just read 25 lines.' 1 “ Not much hope of 
reading the XXIV Books, but I will try. I have today 
completed the XXIV Books, the monstrous task as it then 
appeared to me, I scarce dare to look back upon the long 
interval of four years and two months through which this 
neglected pleasure has been extended. 

March 6th. Thursday. Yesterday I finished reading 
Burrill’s Practice. Last evening I was invited to Mrs. 
Steele’s to tea. I called and spent the evening there. Mrs. 
Steele is much distinguished as an authoriess and has 
travelled much. Her husband is an Englishman and I 
entertain an instinctive aversion to Englishmen. Perhaps 
it is because so many of my family suffered at their hands, 
or because all that I have usually seen are sensual, selfish, 
conceited. Mrs. Steele is very thin, white, delicate and 
ghost-like, and strongly reminds me of my Mother. She 
is not as simple and engaging in her manners and con¬ 
versation as Mrs. Sigourney. She appeared mild, amiable, 
and depressed. I think she must suffer from ill health. 
Her husband monopolized the conversation and talked 
chiefly of Liverpool, hotels, ditto beef, ditto politics. I 
did not converse with her sufficiently to judge in any way 
of her mode of thinking, or even of expressing her thoughts. 

Tuesday March 12th. I have been prevented from 
using my eyes during the last two days. Yesterday I 
listened to Mr. Jordan as he summed up in the case of 
Van Colt vs. Van Cott. He spoke four hours and one half. 

.ei] /I o) bsiivni *bv/ I soin^vo 1?juJ .wiJ3r.iT $ i utukI 



His voice is good and his manner forcible and impressive. 
I have commenced Stephens on pleadings and Mitford’s 
Chancery. Mr. and Mrs. Filley have just left our little 
household, I miss them much. 

Good Friday April 5th. Last night a mob styling 
themselves “ the Native Americans ” were out and involved 
themselves in such a contest with the Irish that the militia 
were ordered out. A great noise was made all night. 

April 12th. Friday. I have been at the office regularly 
this week. Yesterday I saw a classmate married, the first 
who has withdrawn from the bachelor list of our class. 
“Jas. W. Bradin A He was quite the patriarch of the 
class, but was only a short time at the college and passed 
his examinations to get a diploma. He had been a Metho¬ 
dist clergyman for years before and was prepared to take 
orders in the Episcopal Church when he graduated. Bradin 
was sensible and amiable. 

Sunday April 21st. The past week has seen me finish 
Stephen's Pleadings and quaff largely of Lord Redesdale. 
•Every evening has found me out. I was at a small party 
at Mr. Noyes on Wednesday night and I have called in 
the meantime on Mrs. Steele who writes as the English say 
“ cleverly Mrs. Peck is a kinswoman of our Connecticut 
Tomlinsons and a pretty Miss Taylor. My health is good, 
saveing a little trouble with the eyes. I attended Church 
in the morning, passed most of the afternoon in reading 
the Vth. Vol. of Sir Walter Scott's Life. I sadly miss my 
college friends and acquaintances and feel my taste for 
literary pursuits and cultivation ebbing as I attempt to 
thread the intricate yet attractive mazes of the law. I 
"have no rivals to spur me on, no instructive conversations 
or exercises to exert their beneficial influence. Instead of 
that I am bored by one ignoramus after the other. For 
instance the quiet and comfort of this Lord’s Day has been 
broken and put to nought as far as I am concerned by a 
continually talking Universalist. The dampness and cold 



[ 1844 ] 

have driven me from my little quarters down to the parlor. 
My tormentor has kept as close to me as the man that rode 
Sinbad. He opened his batteries immediately after break¬ 
fast on the subject of Universal Salvation. I knew the 
folly of wasting time to discuss the matter with him, and 
so informed him directly that I believed heartily and 
wholly in the Thirty nine Articles, that I believed neither 
more nor less and never should I trust at any future period. 
Instead of leaving me to my own reading and reflections, 
he has favored me with quotations, remarks, and read some 
time aloud, to all which edifying exertions on his part I 
have made the grateful return of not the slightest attention. 
He has just now reentered the room with the Scriptures 
and is engaged in hunting up some texts to hurl at my un¬ 
belief. A military funeral has just passed the house, it is 
a solemn soothing pageantry that teaches the old and bit¬ 
ter, yet oft forgotten lesson. We must go down to the grave 
and the skill, the strength, the pride of man must bow like 
reeds to the wind when the black clouds gather above. I 
have just been reading the extracts from Sir Walter’s Diary 
where he speaks of the death of his wife, they are touch¬ 
ing in the extreme for they are the simple expressions of 
grief, the deep heartfelt grief of an old man when the part¬ 
ner of life precedes him to the grave. 

Monday eve. April 29th. Last Saturday I went with 
Chas. Chapman to Governors Island, to Hoboken and to 
the Academy of National Design. The day was cold and 
unpleasant so that I did not enjoy it much. I gave Charles 
my Gold Athenaeum Badge. How many recollections of 
college does that same badge awaken in my mind. Last 
evening I heard Dr. Coxe preach against Unitarianism. 

May 2. Passed the evening at Mr. Noyes, crossed at 
the South Ferry. The leaves have come out on the trees 
in a most beautiful manner. Have concluded that I read too 
much and reflect too little upon it. My grandfather told 
me so when I was a small boy. 

• • ' -• 


May 8th. 1 he first year of my law course expires to¬ 
day. I consumed my three months vacation to commence 
with, and from the eighth of August until today I have 
been constantly in the office studying. 

Sat. May i8th. During the past week Mr. Noyes has 
been absent from the City. I have commenced Chitty’s 
Pleadings, the great repository of legal lore. Yesterday 
afternoon I attended the examinations of the Supreme 
Court Attorneys. I should have gone to a little pic nic but 
it rained as it has done for the most of this month, which 
has been far more cold and unpleasant than the month of 
April. Last night I heard Mr. Macready play Othello. 

at once pronounced him better in that character than in 
anything I had seen him play, but turning back I find 
I have recorded the same opinion in respect to his Macbeth. 

e is trul} the gieatest Tragedian of the age, and J regret 
that he has lived so great a share of his three score and ten. 

Sat. May 25th. This week has been to me an uneventful 
one speaking comparatively. Tues. and Wed. I waited 
m the Supreme Court to hear Mr. Webster. Thurs. morn¬ 
ing he commenced, I had a good position to see and hear 
im. The crowd was so great that I was forced on to the 
platform by the side of the Judges. Mr. Webster spoke 
for two and Tt hours. Fie leans back, his eyes glisten, he 
gesticulates moderately, but with ease and dignity, his 
delivery is slow and impressive, but his intellect shines 
forth in the clear and simple method which he presents 
and argues a question of law in Court.* 

Last evening as the trembling of my hand indicates 
vias a night of (for me) dissipation. I was at a party at 
Mr. Woods, the eminent Counsellor. I went with Mrs. 
Steele and passed a pleasant evening but did not dance. 

n some conversation with this eminent veteran of the 
piofession. He inquired about my studies, told me I was 
reading too fast, and advised me to read Blackstone con- 

•There was a profile sketch of him in the journal. 


t ,* m -M * '*•* ” , ‘ r 


Uantly and above all to write out for myself the meaning 
of all the professional terms, commit them to memory and 
say them over before breakfast, before sleeping at all times 
so that they will be accurately and indellibly engraved upon 
my memory. It was from such a course as this he told me 
that he derived the greatest benefit, and that at this day 
he could repeat any part of Blackstone. I have formed 
this and another good resolution which I pray God will 
give me strength to fulfill. 

Thurs. May 30. I have lately finished Marshall’s Life 
of Washington, and nearly one half of Chitty’s Pleadings. 
It seems as if something mvsterious was connected with 
all my approaches to Society here, sickness or death con¬ 
stantly. intervene to prevent all renewals of social inter¬ 
course when pleasant acquaintance are once formed. Mrs. 
Steele’s father died of the breaking of a blood vessel while 
I was at the party (spoken of in my last) with her. Very 
much to the disappointment of the friends of Mr. Van 
Buren, Jam. H. Polk has been nominated for the Presi¬ 
dency. He is a “ novus homo ” at the North. 

Wednesday I go to Connecticut. I hope 
I may pass my time pleasantly there. I have some hopes 
of being appointed Commissioner of Deeds for Connecti¬ 
cut by Gov. Baldwin of that State. He is a friend of our 
family, and prepared in 1838 a fine obituary notice of my 


Sunday June 16th. It is now nearly two weeks since 
I have had a pen in my hands. Wed. I reached Conn. 
On Thursday I rode over to Mr. Bellamy’s with Joseph 
Noyes, in the afternoon I was seized with violent pain in 
the head and some fever and from that time until the 
present I have scarcely left my bed. Gov. Baldwin says 
that he will give me my Commission whenever I apply 
to him. Thus passes my three months vacation, the first 


, i ■ -WA ! , • ' i ' 

n • '-h~r o' #1 v its W< »« » r ". ' L bsil 9 . /ud I 



ten days sick in bed. Heaven grant that I may spend the 
remainder more pleasantly. Study, poetry, reading, all 
my grand dreams of improvement are thus far but mere 

June 19th. Wed. morn. One year ago today and I was 
to have officiated as College Marshall in the reception of 
John Tyler at Hartford if his visit had not been prevented 
by the death of Mr. Legare. Today I am un convalescent 
of the home hospital. I have resumed the copying of 
grandfather’s letters. It is warm today and the spirit of 
dullness and quiet hours seems to brood over our still little 

Sunday June 23. Attended church all day. E. Prince 
and her intended husband were there. I call with Father 
to see them, next Wed. eve. I shall see her married at 
Litchfield. It is melancholy to think that this is the last 
evening I shall ever walk down to Mrs. Cutler’s to see 
Elisabeth Prince. During fifteen years I have known her, 
as a playmate in childhood, as a boarding school Miss, and 
as a young lady. She is the last one that remains un¬ 
married of the very few with whom my younger days 
have any endearing associations. Flow merrily we made the 
old kitchen ring with Blindmans Buff. But alas for the 
players, some lie low in the dust, all are scattered and gone. 

Sat. June 29th. Wed. I was at E. Prince’s wedding. 
The evening passed off very pleasantly, some sixty or 
seventy guests present. I was introduced to Mr. Asa 
Bacon who related an anecdote of Judge Edmond who 
sat as junior Judge when he made his first argument before 
the court. Several old acquaintances were there from 
Brooklyn, Flartford, and elsewhere. I slept very little at 
the. hotel that night on account of the heat and noise. The 
next day I returned to Watertown with Mr. Prince and 
Charles. Yesterday I rode on horseback to Bethlehem in 
55' from there I went with the ladies to Mr. Whitlock’s 
in Southbury and in the evening I returned to Mr. Bel- 


• ! ‘ 4 • • I 



1 J844] 

lamy's. About 9 o'clock as I sprang into the saddle my 
horse plunged and threw me over on the side so that I 
had to grasp him round the neck to avoid falling on my 
head. He dragged me in this way three rods when I was 
forced to release my hold. As I fell to the ground he 
sprang clear of me though his hind heels almost came in 
collision with my head. I was injured but slightly by the 
fall, though today I do not feel well. But I feel grateful 
to that kind Providence that rendered it no greater. I 
am hindered from using my eyes as much as I desire to do 
on account of a series of swellings of the lid since I have 
been sick. 

Sunday July 7th. My eyes are better. The past week 
has passed off very quickly. Monday was devoted to letter 
writing. Tues. afternoon I went with Geo. Woodruff to 
Lake Quasapog and in the course of four hours we caught 
ninety fish. Thursday I attended a large Whig celebra¬ 
tion of our National Anniversary at Woodbury. The 
Loco Focos held one at the same time and the crowds were 
numbered by thousands. Long trains of waggons came 
pouring over the hills in all directions with music and 
banners, while their passage through the street was greeted 
with the ringing of bells and the firing of cannon. If the 
stern, sober people of Connecticut yield thus to the ex¬ 
citement of a popular election, what fearful consequences 
may we not expect in future to result from similar scenes? 
Friday I rode to Plymouth to see Butler and Singletery 
of North Carolina who is rusticating there. Yesterday I 
made my maiden speech before a court. In the afternoon 
I strolled into Hemingway's tavern to listen to the Exam¬ 
ination of Dr. Davis charged with beating his son so as 
to endanger his life. The prisoner requested me to act 
as Counsel for him, my father being on the opposite side 
and he having none. 1 did so, but proof and popular 
prejudice were too strong against my client. He was 

aril (d xJwij 1 ** tud faaiuini tsw Ib*»d {<n ■'■<■■' no, a x- 


11844 } 

bound over to the County Court in bonds of $100.00 which 
are so small that he considered it a triumph. 

July 1 ith. 1 hurs. On Monday last I went on horse¬ 
back to Derby where I made a very pleasant visit until 
yesterday when I returned. Tues. eve. I was at a party at 

Mrs. Sanford's. Prof. Elton is to pass a part of the day at 
our house. 


Monday July 15th. After an absence of almost a year 
here I am within the precincts of my Alma Mater. I have 
been up to the college and seen several old friends. Noth¬ 
ing affected me so sensibly as to go into the old college 
chapel to attend evening prayers and meet none of my 
classmates, a thing that never before occurred. There 
were their names scribbled over the seats, there were the 
same pra\ers read, all was the same, in the rush of my 
own feelings it seemed as if I was transported back to other 
da)s, but still not one of those old faces I met so often 
in the recitation rooms was there. I feel more at home in 
Hartford than anywhere else. I have always enjoyed my¬ 
self well here, and have more acquaintances here than else¬ 
where. I trust I shall spend a pleasant week, this has been 
a delightful day. The very air I inhale invigorates me. 

I am boarding at Mrs. Powers, with whom I boarded the 
last college year. 

M ed. July 17th. Yesterday it rained nearly all day. 

I slept little or none, Monday night I was too fatigued to 
sleep. I have left Mrs. Powers and am now at the City 
Hotel, some of Mrs. P s absent boarders returned unex¬ 
pectedly and occupying my room there. I passed part of 
last evening at Bishop Brownell's and have an invitation 
to be there this evening. Miss Clerc I fould was out of 
town, called also on the Misses Drapers. I find my name 
recorded in the Secretary of State’s office as a Commis¬ 
sioner to take oath and acknowledgements in the State of 
New York. 



\.i 844 ] 

Friday July 19th. City Hotel Hartford, This is my last 
entry in Hartford, this afternoon I leave with Butler for 
Watertown quite unexpectedly to myself. Yesterday eve¬ 
ning I was at the President's party for the Senior Class. I 
have seen many old friends and passed a very pleasant week. 
My hasty departure deprives me of the pleasure of taking 
tea at Mrs. Trumbull’s this afternoon. Her daughter is the 
only lady I have ever more than simply admired, yet I never 
met her but that I always became more awkward and stupid 
than usual. It seems as if Fate ordained that every im¬ 
pediment should be thrown in my way from some external 
causes whenever I have made an approach towards culti¬ 
vating the acquaintance. But I have sworn that my course 
must be onward and turn from it I will not. “ Qoud scrip- 
turn est.” 

Watertown Sat. July 27. Last Monday I went with 
Mother to Newtown. Tues. I rode to Danbury, in the 
afternoon I went with a number of gentlemen and ladies 
over into the State of New York on a horseback excursion. 
Wed. I returned with Dr. Wm. E. Booth to Newtown. 
Thursday I was detained by the rain and yesterday I re¬ 
turned to Watertown and brought with me Mary Booth. 
Today Calvin Butler and Malcolm came over and dined 
with me, death is written on the features of the former. 
Unfortunate young man, just as he has entered with some 
success upon his professional career he finds himself 
brought to the verge of the grave with an incurable disease. 

Tues. July 30th. Tomorrow I leave to attend Wash. 
Coll. Commencement. How differently do I now regard 
this anniversary from what I have heretofore done. 

Sun. Aug. 4. The rain prevented my leaving to attend 
Commencement until Thursday morning. At Plymouth I 
took in M. N. Butler and we made our appearance in 
Church just as the speaking closed. The customary dinner 
passed off very agreeably at the Athenaeum Hotel. After 



. . 

[lS 44 ~\ 

dinner we had a class meeting of those who were there 
consisting of Messrs. Clerc, Preston, J. P. Taylor, Horton. 
Curtis, Welles, Long, Scott, Cornwall, and Gardiner. In 
the evening I was at a party given by the President, after 
some other festivities and some serenading I retired to rest 
but not to sleep. The next day I returned to Watertown. 
The weather was intensely hot and my eyes became so much 
inflamed that I have to make this entry as brief as possible. 

Aug. 7th. Wed. night. Vacation is becoming dull and 
tedious. I sigh for a little more bustle. So long as I can 
read and reflect time flies pleasantly, but one cannot do 
these two things constantly and riding on horseback con¬ 
stitutes mv chief mental relaxation. 


Sat. Aug. 17th. I am reading Blackstone and commit¬ 
ting the definitions to memory. Wed. I went to Newtown, 
the next day I rode over to Zoar and went a little out of 
mv wav to see the house mv Father was born in and the 
acres that come with it from my great great grandfather 
who was the Nimrod and Cortez of the hills in that vicinity 
rather more than a century ago. Mr. Chapman dined at 
our house today and says that he will have me appointed 
Commissioner of Deeds for Massachusetts, nous verrons. 

Thurs. Aug. 22. I have just returned from Litchfield 
where I have been since last Tues. The Supreme Court 
is in Session or its circuit branch rather, which is called 
here the Superior Court. Chief Justice Williams on the 
Bench. I have listened to the arguments of some “ de cele- 
bres hommes ” in the profession. I was much struck both 
with surprise and admiration at the summing up of a cause 
by Leman Church. His appearance is that of a little with¬ 
ered old man five feet four inches. His figure is such as I 
should conceive would be produced by the distortion of 

every joint and then suffering it to grow into a new socket 


when in a state of dislocation. His dress was more rusty 
and uncouth than even his crooked little form appeared. 
But when he rose to address the jury all conversation ceased 




.sldiaaoq <« tend « yuna tUh aaism at svwt I 


. . - n»: 


in the Court Room, people put forward their heads to 
catch every word that fell from his thin wrinkled lips, 
while the only token of intelligence that I could perceive 
in his countenance was the rolling of his clear blue eyes 
that shone in strange contrast with his black shriveled 
visage. All note of his personal appearance ceased when 
I became a listener. He spoke with due energy both of 
voice and gesture, but he presented the complicated ques¬ 
tions at issue in the most masterly manner to the minds of 
the jury. His division of the case was clear and methodical, 
he evidently possessed a clear analysis in his mind while 
he reasoned with great logical skill and with such power 
that it seemed to impart the truth and that only to the 
minds of his listeners. His style was nervous and perspicu¬ 
ous but never diffuse. Here is a complimentary sketch 
taken from memory of our hero. Truman Smith spoke 
also. His action is great, every nerve and muscle appears 
to partake of his mental movements, he's strong but does 
not husband it with sufficient care, his stvle is diffuse and 
rambling, but before he closes every point is touched upon 
and that too in no slight or hasty manner. 

Tues. Aug. 27. I have been .perseveringly reading 
Blackstone until today. Today I have for the second time 
tried a cause. I appeared in behalf of the town against 
my former client Dr. Davis who was charged with theft 

from the person of one-Chas. B. Phelps, Sprague 

and one law student from Litchfield to look out references, 
were on the other side. I was opposed to this triumvirate 
and unsuccessfully so. I struggled as much as I could for 
my side but the magistrates did not bind him over. But 
alas for all my self-complacency, since I left the court I 
see where I might (I think now) have prevented most of 
the evidence that was detrimental to us from being intro¬ 
duced, for the reason that it was hearsay. This tells me 
how little I am qualified to enter the legal arena, how much 
1 am deficient in quickness of apprehension and sharp- 

dHi ol *(lno bns aril liBQffii 01 horni^ li teri) 

I • ' 1 ' • 




C 1844] 

sightedness and in that legal acumen which is the result 
of long practice or a great mental capacity which enables 
the mind to embrace everything in its grasp. But I trust 
that I shall never again commit so gross a blunder though 
I cannot perceive that anybody was conscious of it at the 
time. May I never suffer hearsay evidence to be again 
introduced when I conduct a trial without my perceiving 

Sun. night. Sept. ist. Autumn comes with a bright 
and smiling face. It has been a beautiful day. May Sep¬ 
tember show us many like it for I would that the few days 
before I write myself a man (per legem) might be clear 
and sunny like those of far off childhood now so fast fad¬ 
ing away in the dimness of the pleasant past. 

Mon. night. Sept. 2nd. I had some conversation today 
with a visitor of my Father's. Cap. Wilson who served 
through the Revolutionary War in Gen. Clinton's Brigade 
New York Line. Among other incidents he mentioned 
that he was one of the Guard that escorted Major Andre 
to the place of execution. Two American Colonels locked 
arms with the prisoner in this his last march, at the side 
of Colonel walked a minister of the Dutch Reform Church. 
Captain Wilson walked in the centre of the platoon imme¬ 
diately behind these so that he heard all the conversation 
that passed. They marched first through a buckwheat 
stubble field into an old orchard which brought them in 
sight of the gallows. At this Andre started back saying 
“My God! is this the way I am to die?” One of the 
officers told him that he “ must be too well acquainted with 
the martial law not to be aware of the punishment that 
awaited him as a spy.” The minister then spoke to him of 
the necessity of thinking of the great change that awaited 
him. He replied that he had thought of it as much as 
either of them, and that he wished that they would say 
nothing further to him on that subject. On reaching the 
spot Andre ascended the camp waggon, adjusted the halter 




1B ,b ad til iim (m^o! wq) nr.m « «n* l 

bMl-jol 1 fioloO m;ii rnA. o A .( oi*« ; » o «Mlq »* °* 

baiirwa Jfirtl ogr.sfb Jssig sib ; o a n,/ln,i: -<*•' ;' v,n ‘ ( 

I J844\ 

under his stock and tied the bandage over his eyes, pre¬ 
viously taking leave of the officers and calling upon all 
present to take note and witness that he died like a brave 
man in the service of my king and my country. The provost 
major then gave the signal, with his sword, the camp horses 
moved slowly on, his feet dragged on the bottom of the 
waggon, caught for an instant on a halter chain, passing 
between the staves at the back of the waggon and then 
swung forward into eternity. He raised his arms which 
were pinioned at the elbows with what appeared to be a 
piece of white holland like one falling and all motion for¬ 
ever ceased. Capt. W. says that Andre was apparently 
about 25 with a slight and handsome figure. I have given 
his statement as nearly as I could in his own language, 
and it is undoubtedly correct as he is a man of great 
respectability and good sense and most likely the only sur¬ 
viving eye witness of that sad scene. 

Wed. aft. Sept. 4th. I have just finished reading Black- 
stone for the third time. Tomorrow I leave for New York 
and my next entry will date at Brooklyn. 


Sept. 6th. Fri. night. I reached here last evening after 
a pleasant jaunt via the Housatonic railroad. I find my¬ 
self again in the old quarters, and everything both in 
Brooklyn and New York going on much as usual. 

Sept. 7th. Sat. I have written to Gov. Baldwin for 
another commission being unable to find the one that has 
been made out and transmitted. My classmate Brainard 
passed a part of the morning with me. I have studied 
none at all today, it seems as if the dust and ashes of the 
city choked me. I have passed it very unsatisfactorily. 

Tues. Sept. 10th. I have today received my Commis¬ 
sion from Gov. Baldwin. I am reading Chitty’s Plead- 
ings, 50 pages per diem and the Doctor and Student. I 
have resolved to read “ Thier’s Revolution Francaise” at 
Capt. CoggeshalTs recommendation, who offers to loan me 




s'jrf** ! ris M 

11844 ] 

a copy of a splendid Paris edition. I am reading some of 
Cicero's Orations, that one for Archias I have read with 
the greatest pleasure. 

It rains violently without while I feel miserable and 
cheerless. We are on the eve of a Presidential election, 
among the important responsibilities I incur upon attaining 
my majority is that of voting. It is a sacred privilege and 
after diligently considering the matter in my own mind I 
feel bound to sustain Mr. Clay. Great excitement prevails 
throughout the country, but I think not as much as in 1840. 
The country is in a more prosperous condition. Torch 
light processions and evening meetings are of almost con¬ 
stant occurrence. 

Sat. eve. Sept. 28th. There is a violent storm without, 
the weather is extremely cold for this season. The mercury 
in Fahrt. therm, at 53 but a good fire in my room renders 
it quite cheerful. This is the last evening of my minority. 
I know not why it is but I look forward to that anniver¬ 
sary which renders me twenty one with sad misgivings 
for the future. A birthday is with me a day consecrated 
to meditation, vain regrets, and good resolves and none 
have presented themselves where meditations upon the past 
and unyielding resolves for the future are so needed as 
upon that which tomorrow ushers in. I cannot conceive 
how any reasonable creature can spend in thoughtless mer¬ 
riment a day that tells us our life lease is shortening, our 
talents buried and we ourselves weak and weary plunging 
into the dread future. 

Sept. 29th. I am today 21 years of age. Childhood and 
youth have ceased to be and henceforth by the law of the 
land I write myself a man. How bitterly do I regret the 
errors of the past. How sorrowfully do I dwell on the 
recollection of departed years. How stern are my resolves 
for the future. It seems as if the elements conspired to 
render this sad anniversary still more gloomy, such a storm 



as rarely visited our coast is raging without, which I trust 
is not typical of my future career. 

Wed. night. Oct. 2nd. I am reading “ Coningsby v by 
the author of “ Venetia \ It is one of the few novels I 
read. One of those that I must rank with “ Corinne ” and 
“ Eugene Aram ” in the impressions they make on me. 
The characters are well sustained especially the Eton Boys, 
it bears upon its face the mystic stamp of a great and cul¬ 
tivated genius. A boat excursion on the river yesterday 
and a sad headache today have interfered with the law 

Tu es. Oct. 8th. Have been since dinner at Gowanus 
on an unsuccessful shooting excursion. I have led a 
leisurely life for the last few days in order to dissipate 
a fixed pain in the chest. At noon I listened to the Vale¬ 
dictorian at the Col. College Commencement. His piece 
was in poetry so that it had none of the usually touching 
effect of a Valedictory. Yesterday I called on Mrs. But¬ 
ters. She bears the loss of her husband better than I ex¬ 
pected she could. Poor fellow he reached Demarara but 
to die there. I find he wished the copy of Rabelais to be 
given to me if he did not return.* 

Fri. eve. Oct. 18th. For the last two days my eyes 
have been inflamed. Yesterday morning I passed in the 
Vice Chancellor’s Court. I heard Benj. F. Butler on the 
Cruger case. In the afternoon I attended the Fair of the 
American Institute. This day I have spent in the Superior 
Court. The storm without and the blues within put me 
in a rhyming mood. 

There was a time when all was bright. 

A summer sky serene, 

Hope shed her soft inspiring light, 

And Fancy crowned the scene: 

But Oh the change! the bitter change! 

Dark clouds obscure that sky, 

•Note. Rabelais would certainly be a good antidote. 


biL, tr i o y '* 1: i: } nr.i iu:n I *j ii » :>flO .bwi 

S .boom animal b ni 

■ 'i. i.-.d h ?m*J b ' :// or» H 


And all my thoughts mid sorrows range 
While not one friend is nigh. 

Bright were my dreams in Learning's Halls, 

And at her shrine I knelt, 

But sainted sleep within those walls 
The hopes that there have dwelt, 

And lone my course along the way 
That cheerlessly I tread 
No kindly voice that bids me stay 
Save “ halt! among the dead.” 

Oh who will mourn when I am gone, 

Or stay to drop one tear, 

Of sorrow on that cold, cold stone 
Unfeeling hands may rear? 

True I shall sleep and know it not, 

Then why should I repine 
That none will come to bless the spot, 

The spot I may call mine. 

Sunday Oct. 20th. This morning attended the French 
Church. I have resumed reading “The Prairie Bird ” an 
Englishman’s imitation of Cooper. I do not think it is 
entitled to the praise I have heard bestowed upon it. It 
wants originality. 

Oct. 23. Wed. Last Evening I was at a little party 
at Miles. Robert, quite a mixture of French and English 
were present. The excitement which usually precedes a 
Presidential Election is greater now than I have ever 
known it. There is almost uninterrupted series of bell 
ringing, cannon firing, and processions. I ardently desire 
Mr. Clay’s success, but make no public demonstration of 
my wishes. I progress slowly with the law. I have too 
many irons in the fire, though they are all literary. My 
former fondness for novel-reading seems to revive, but I 
find it is too alluring a relaxation. Within a few weeks I 




bsatt I tl w9hw(fc> ,af 


have read “ Coningsby ”, “ Prairie Bird ” and “ Arrah 

Wed. Oct. 30. I have today done little else than at¬ 
tend the Whig gathering in New York. I had a fine view 
of it as it came up Broadway from a window on the corner 
of Trinity Churchyard. One man near me counted the 
horses, he said there were 2,328 of them, another counted 
the men in the procession, and according to his estimate 
there were about 9,300 in it, and probably ten times that 
number spectators. The time consumed by the procession 
in passing where I was standing was 2 hours and 30 
minutes. Every window as far as the eye could reach up 
Broadway was filled with heads and waving handkerchiefs. 
The most striking feature was the number of ornamental 
platforms drawn by horses with artisans of every kind 
working on them. 

I have received through the kindness of Mrs. Steele an 
invitation to a small party at Miss Peck’s, but I send a 
note declining it more from the growing unsociality of my 
habits than for any other reason. I daily perceive that I 
am growing indolent and even when perceiving am too 
torpid to arouse myself from it. I have today received 
a letter from my classmate N. B. Marshall, by it I learn 
that he with the Kers is at the Medical College in Phila¬ 

Sun. Nov. 3. Thursday I went to the Bowery Theatre 
to see Putnam which has had a great run for the last three 
months. It is a mass of trash and bombast and taken as a 
whole it is supremely ridiculous. I have suffered from a 
severe toothache and I am now suffering from a remedy 
worse than the disease, that is killing the nerve with arsenic. 
This morning attended the French Church. 

Nov. 8. Thurs. A bleak unpleasant day. I voted yes¬ 
terday for the first time. It is one of those important steps 
which should be recorded in this journal of my life, steps 
which alas serve only to mark a journey from infancy to 


, VI 



-BlifiT ni o< AioD i >ibol/ h ai ? .o. \ t>fli Hi 7/ or! mil 

* , ’. r ■. • ■ ! !•>.'■'• : - 


the tomb. I cast my maiden vote for Henry Clay because 
I believed that in so doing I was voting to sustain those 
principles and that Constitution which every American 
is bound to, and which my brave and virtuous grandfather 
sustained with his blood on the field of battle, and with 
the wisdom of his maturer years in the Counsel Chamber 
of the nation. God grant that I may be like him. Brave, 
wise and good. 

Sat. Nov. io. The vote of this state has gone against 
Mr. Clay. There is little or no hope of his election to 
the Presidency. It is a matter to be deeply regretted that 
after a life spent in the public service of the country, he 
cannot descend into the grave crowned with this last honor. 
Nothing can equal the grief and disappointment of the 
Whigs. Many even of those who apparently have taken 
but little interest in his Election, have shed tears upon 
hearing the unexpected result. And all parties express 
their sorrow for Mr. Clay. On Monday night I am to 
speak against my own belief in justifying the execution 
of Louis XVI. But some one must take the weak side of 
the question or we would have no debates. 

Nov. 16. Sat. night. I have been out most of the day 
with Mr. Filley shooting in the woods near Greenswood 
Cemetary. We had very good sport considering the lo¬ 
cality, among other things we shot one grey squirrel. I 
have rarely passed a day more pleasantly. It was one of 
those unclouded, warm, beautiful days, such as autumn 
occasionally gives us, as it were to render us more sensitive 
to its fogs and its chills. The air was pure and bracing 
and the very inhaling it was a pleasure. Though I have 
walked some fifteen miles and am much fatigued as well 
as suffering from blistered feet yet I must confess that I 
have not passed a day as pleasantly for a long, long, time. 
Monday I commenced Story’s Equity. I find the style 
pleasing, the arrangement of the subject clear and ana¬ 
lytical and great learning shown in the notes and authori¬ 



> 17 / - 


[ 1844 ] 

Wed. Nov. 20. Called this evening on Miss Howland, 
found there a copy of a poem written two years since in 
Hartford by a young lady to a friend of mine. I have 
just completed the tenth and last volume of Thier’s Revolu¬ 
tion Francaise. I commenced reading it Sept. 13. 

Fri. Nov. 22. Last evening I was at a soiree musicale 
at Mrs. Hull’s. The music was fine, much of it Italian. 
It required a better judge than myself to appreciate it. 
I met there two female authoresses, Mrs. Steele, with whom 
I am acquainted, and Mrs. Emma C. Embury. The latter 
had a very pretty daughter who sang well and made, though 
quite young, an extremely graceful appearance. 

Sun. Nov. 24. Attended the French Church in the 
morning, Mr. Johnson’s this afternoon. I have engaged 
to write a lecture for the Hamilton Association to be de¬ 
livered in a few weeks. I have chosen for my subject the 
Knights of Malta, and am now reading Constable's History 
or I should say, his edition of Sutherland’s History of that 
distinguished order. 

Wed. 27th. Nov. Have read very little law for the 
past two days. I called today on Miss Barnard, but I must 
say Mrs. Thompson, for she has married a gentleman of 
that name since I left Hartford. She was absent, I found, 
on a visit to Hartford. I then called on Mrs. Butters and 
Starr and then at the Seminary. I searched in vain for 
some books relating to the Knights of Malta at the Library. 

A La Belle Inconnue, 

“ Ma belle inconnue,” ’tis to thee, 

A stranger writes “ Adieu.” 

Much fears he lest you think it rude. 

Oh pardon, hear him through. 

Alone where strangers worship God. 

Friendless he knelt to pray 

When lo! A light upon his path 
Shed its benignant ray. 


L At'- 1 A rtlfl . 



But you, fair lady were the light, 

Your softly, mild blue eyes, 

Made in the stranger’s cheerless heart, 

Visions of Beauty 7 rise. 

He thought, oh then! Of other days, 

But they Alas! are fled, 

He thought of kindred and of friends, 

But they sleep with the dead. 

And then he asked “ Oh can it be, 

The Ladye with the graceful mien, 

Will cast one little thought on me 
When I no more am seen?” 

Then when he leaves perchance for aye 
May he not write to you, 

These feeble words, these lingering lines, 

Of his long, long Adieu. 

Nov. 28th. Thursday. This is Thanksgiving Day in 
Connecticut. They are all of the Connecticut stock where 
I board, so that we have quite a Thanksgiving here in the 
precincts of the Empire State. Went with Mr. Burt to 
see an inquest taken before a Sheriff’s Jury. Mr. Burt is 
quite obliging to me, and takes frequent opportunities to 
afford me instruction and information and especially in 
matters of practice. He has been in the office but a few 
months, and is considered rather crabbed but from some 
cause he treats me with marked regard. Acres, a young 
Englishman, employed as a clerk at the office was severely 
wounded by being stabbed in the back part of his head on 
the night of the Loco precession; he convalesced for a few 
days but is now in the Hospital raving mad. 

The Loco Focos were a schism within the Republican or Anti-Whig party 
which originated between 1832-1836. Their demand was sound money, free trade 
and non-interfedence by Government which eventually became the platform of the 
Democratic party. 

Their name arose from a circumstance in New York, when the regular 
Republicans tried to stampede an evening meeting and put out the lights, the 
equal rights people were prepared with Loco Foco matches and candles and 
continued their debate. 


r' r , t j, j boddsio «Htni b^bhnoo b«.« 


Thanksgiving Day . Thursday Dec. 12. This anni¬ 
versary brings with it our first snow storm. Who can tell 
under what circumstances the occurrence of this Festival 
will find him in the ensuing year? Joyful or sad, well, 
sick, or dead. Mr. Taylor has invited me to dine with 
him and Mr. and Mrs. Childs where I expect to pass the 
day very pleasantly. 

Sat. Dec. 16th. I have for more than twenty-four hours 
suffered from an uninterrupted headache. I am reading 
Classical Essays, Correspondence and Lectures by the Ger¬ 
man Philologists, translated and collected in a volume 
entitled “ Classical Studies.” 

Sun. Dec. 17th. I heard a sermon from Bishop Hop¬ 
kins of Vermont this morning. The subject was “ brotherly 
love being the love of God.” His appearance is quite 
bishop like, with his large round frame, and florid com¬ 
plexion. He presented the subject with a great deal of 
clearness, his figures were few, chaste, and scriptural, in 
action he was composed and dignified, his voice seems 
weak, but naturally good enough if he tried to turn it to 
less purpose, this is the only fault I observed. 

This afternoon I listened to a sermon from Bishop Lee 
of Delaware. The subject was “ the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ.” At the commencement of his discourses his voice 
had an unpleasant nasal twang, but it soon subsided as he 
became warmed in the subject. Pie displayed a classical 
taste and cultivated mind in his style, while he arranged 
his thoughts in an easy, harmonious manner that rendered 
his sermon a model of pulpit perspicuity. In action he 
was quite energetic using many gestures. But his emaciated 
frame and ashy complexion told more of the study and 
the “midnight oil” than of old Madeira and Episcopal 
dinners. This evening I intend to hear Bishop Johns of 

I have this moment returned from hearing Bishop 
Johns preach. His sermon was upon the weakness and 




depravity of the human heart. It was delivered extempo¬ 
raneously and in a most interesting and eloquent manner. 
His voice has a slight lisp which seems in him to be a 
beauty. He manages it extremely well, his whispers being 
heard through the Church with perfect distinctness, while 
he seemed in some portions of his discourse to surpass 
Macready in the perfection of his delivery. In personal 
appearance he is prepossessing, tall, lean, and iron features 
with a huge mouth, make him seem to the stranger, a John 
Knox, but when he rises to speak, his kindling eye, his 
modest exordium, and then his impassioned eloquence and 
unceasing yet dignified action fill the mind first with in¬ 
terest and then with admiration. 

I have today listened to three bishops and with the 
utmost pleasure. 

Christmas Day. I have passed the day at Mr. Mar¬ 
vin’s. Attended St. Peter’s Church with him in the morn¬ 
ing. I spent the day very pleasantly. Mr. Hyde and the 
two Mr. Powers’ dined also at Mr. M's. The return of 
this Festival finds me in health and the enjoyment of many 
blessings, may God in kindness continue them unto me. 
How much have I to be grateful for. With the New Year 
may I commence a new life. 

Fri. Dec. 27. There has been a violent snow storm 
from the northeast. It still continues. I have not been 
at the office but have remained at my room reading and 
writing upon the Lecture. I have just finished reading 
Plecuba with Mr. Hyde. Like the other writing of Eu¬ 
ripides it flows with the wisdom of Socrates. The change 
from pathos to a pithy saying seems often too abrupt, yet 
it has a pleasing effect. 

Sat. Dec. 28th. Read fifty pages in Story’s Equity 
Pleadings. Received fifty cents the first fee I ever received 
as Commissioner for Connecticut. This evening I devote 
to my Lecture. - *’ 

Sun. Dec. 29th. Attended the French Church this 
morning. Written letters to N. B. Marshall and N. M. 



K'v >i fi 1 1 . *: " 


olovob T ^niti9V9 airtT JutHlooanc' ioI isnoiasimmo' 8B 

[ 1844 ] 

Butler. During the past week I have made slow progress 
in almost everything. My lecture drags along. 

Tuesday December 31st. This is my last entry under 
the year 1844. During its flight I have learnt how to taste 
both of the bitter and the sweet. As I review it, and ask 
myself “ have I become holier and wiser than I was be¬ 
fore?” I see but too distinctly, how much, I have neglect¬ 
ed my best interests. I have today completed Story on 
Equity Pleadings. Good night! to the Past Year. 

The winds are hushed, the waves are still, 
And yet my heart beats quick and fast. 

I see the bark, the trade winds fill 
The snow white sail, but to the past 
I turn my sad and weary heart 

And count the sweet, departed days 
When ne’er I dreamed from thee to part 
Regina of my earliest lays. 

And at thy side another stands 
Upon the gently gliding deck, 

Who at the altar clasped they hands 
And swore to cherish and protect 
Thee as his loved and honored wife. 

Well is he worth the noble heart 
You pledged to him yestereve for life 
But how it rends my heart to part. 

Oh! Could I once again recall 
The pleasant, pleasant hours, 

When life was young and hope was high, 
And nought was e’er but love and flowers, 
But why repine, bright hopes are thine, 
The wide, wide world before thee lies, 
And he you love, and she above 
Guard you for aye near other skies. 

1 63 

tot r/r • v/ mi 1 ot ba^b^Iq uoY 

» • *• 

lifiDDT lttt 8 * »»<> 1 bIU0 ° ,rf0 

.ewwoft bns avol -ud 13 3 «fiw ulguon bnA 

Vi8 4 5] 

(Age 22 years!) 

New Year’s Eve. 1845. Fatigued and weary with the 
festivities of the day, I commence a new volume of the 
records of my quiet life. A new year is dawning before 
me, it may be for weal or for woe, but God grant that 
it may be unto me, one of holiness, health, happiness, and 
wisdom. During the day I have made Twenty eight calls, 
visiting most of my friends both in New York and Brook¬ 
lyn. A few of them I found agreeable, but many of them 
were merely formal, and where I have not called since 
last New Year’s. I will here transcribe the rules by which 
I have so long endeavored to regulate my conduct. 

1 st. To be temperate in all things. 

2nd. To always show a becoming respect for Religion 
and the Clergy. 

3rd. Never to surpass the limits of strict Truth. 

4th. Never to speak ill of another. 

5th. To treat all persons with politeness. 

6th. To shun the habit of swearing. 

7th. Each night to review the day, and ask God’s 

8th. To always read these Rules, after writing in this 

1845. Tuesday Jan. 7th. It has rained most of the 
day, and I have remained at my room. Until dinner I 
was engaged upon my lecture, since then I have been very 
much interested in reading the manuscript journal of Mrs. 
Whistler, the wife of Major Whistler, an American officer 
now in the service of the Emperor of Russia as an En¬ 
gineer. It bears upon its face the evidence that it is the 
production of an extremely amiable, intelligent and pious 
lady. She relates every incident in a simple and interest¬ 
ing manner. It gives me much clearer ideas of life in St. 
Petersburg than I could possibly derive from any other 
source. / 

Wednesday. January 8th. I have this moment ceased 
listening to Ole Bull. A mere accident brought me there 


} i ■, ■ " - ; ; • 11 . 

iuoii'i bnc )n - jg I! )lni ,ali simf: ’(Ism >ttX9 nc !o noiouboiq 

[ 1845 ] 

as I was not aware that he was to perform in Brooklyn. 
The “ Siciliano E Tarantella ” and “ The Carnival of 
Venice ” delighted me, and though I have so little knowl¬ 
edge of music as not to recognize “ Yankee Doodle ” when 

o o 

he played it this evening after being encored, yet I have 
rarely passed an evening of more exquisite pleasure. The 
pleasure I derive from music is from the pleasing emotions 
it excites in my mind, and the beautiful and heart stirring 
pictures it causes my imagination to call up. At one 
time tonight the music came boating and undulating as 
from a vast distance, and unconsciously I was thinking 
of a bright summer afternoon, when long years ago, brother 
Henry and myself while passing a week at our Grand¬ 
father's, sat fishing from the rocks on the shore of a neigh¬ 
boring lake and heard music borne on the wind across its 
surface, and were at a loss to discover the source from 
whence it came. I was only aroused from this dream of 
other days by finding myself borne on to realizing, for the 
first time M De Stael's description of the singing in the 
Sistine Chapel. 

“ Non me carminibus vincet nec Thracius Orpheus, 

“ Nec Linus.” 

Sunday, 12th. This morning I attended the French 
service. Yesterday I visited some of my old college friends 
who are at the Theological Seminary. Thursday I was 
presented to General Mirabeau Lamar and Commodore 
Moore of Texas. Gen. Lamar is about fifty, middle sized, 
and with a florid complexion. His manners are prepos¬ 
sessing, exhibiting all the ease and politeness of a French¬ 
man. Commodore Moore is younger, rather ill-favored 
and has a sinister expression in his countenance. 

Saturday, January 25th. Last evening I attended the 
Opera of Cenerentola, the first time I have ever attended 
an opera. I was charmed with the music, and earnestly 
desired that I knew Italian so as to understand the words. 
The audience presented a brilliant display of wealth and 





••1 J 1* IN’ • 

•• n r ■ 

t f - _ # T* r 

. _ _ • . r • r i ! . *_ ’ 


.aonfintjJnuoj «ifl ni ooiatoiqxs laleiniz £ scd ®n£ 



fashion perhaps more than is usually collected in New 
York. It was over before u o'clock. Last week on Friday 
I was at a small party at Mrs. Steele's. The evening passed 
very pleasantly. 

Wednesday, January 29th. Last night I listened to a 
Temperance Lecture from young Gough. He is a very 
popular Lecturer, though but little educated, he has a 
glowing imagination, and a natural rude eloquence, that 
render his discourses very attractive. This morning John 
Horsley Palmer, late President of the Bank of England, 
called at the office. This eminent Capitalist and M. P. 
is on a visit to this country to settle some financial opera¬ 
tions. He is a complete John Bull in external appearance, 
fat, florid, with large features, a deep rolling voice. 

Saturday, Feb. 15th. The snow is rapidly thawing. I 
have completed my Lecture. St. Valentine’s day has show¬ 
ered some unexpected favor on me. For the life of me I 
cannot tell where they come from, but they are approxi¬ 
mately from one source, and that where I am well known. 

Wednesday Evening, February 26th. I have this mo¬ 
ment finished the delivery of my Lecture before the Hamil¬ 
ton Lit. Association on the Knights of Malta. The audi¬ 
ence was very small, most of them personal friends of my 
own. I have reason to believe it was well received and I 
trust considered creditable to myself. Mr. Prince and his 
brother were there, they were the companions of my Father 
in his youth, and I suppose they felt some curiosity and 
interest respecting the son. “ Sed tu desine plura puer.” 

Sunday, March 2nd. This morning I listened to a 
discourse from the Rev. Antoine Verren, in French. His 
manner is slow, calm, and dignified. This Church was 
originally established by the French Hugenots. This after¬ 
noon I heard a Mr. Chapin at the Universalist Church. 
Fie preached in a style that is extremely popular and at¬ 
tractive. Mr. and Mrs. Morton arrived yesterday from 
Cuba much benefited in health by their travelling. Mrs. 
Chapman is here preparatory to the marriage of Charlotte. 



J*_ la in I 

t, . ■ J ' 


Thursday, March 6th. Today I have commenced the 
study of the Italian language. I can however make but 
little progress until I have more books and an instructor. 
Since the mornings have become more pleasant I walk 
regularly upon the Battery. The fresh air is most invigorat¬ 
ing, and I need its sanitary influences. 

GOOD FRIDAY, March 22nd. The two first cases I 
have had in New York were to be tried this morning before 
one of the Assistant Justices and I was not aware until near 
dinner time that it was one of the Solemn days of the 
Church that I was thus spending so differently from all 
former ones. My cases I found had been settled. Thus 
ends my first litigation ici. On the 29th, I finished read¬ 
ing the Revised Statutes and such Private Acts as appear 
entitled to notice. Frederick Cornwall called on me the 
other day; he is married, the second one of our class who 
has entered into the Holy State. I was present last evening 
at the first party I have attended in many months, at Mrs. 
Peck's. Passed the evening pleasantly, met there Miss 

Friday, March 28th. I have today commenced read¬ 
ing “ Chitty on Contracts,” having just finished “ Costar vs 
Lorillard 14 Wendell vs James 16 Wend.” These cases 
are of the utmost importance as settling and defining the 
Law of Real Estate under the Revised Statutes. For after 
dinner amusement and instruction I read “ un’ poco di Le 
Favole del La Fontaine tradotte in versi italienne da 
Stephano Egidio Petrony.” During the past week almost 
every evening has been passed in visiting. I have been 
making amends for a winter’s negligence. Tonight I am 
going over to New York to call on Mrs. Thompson and 
Mr. Samuel A. Foote, an old friend of my Father's who 
has extended to me several courteous invitations, none of 
which I have as yet accepted. 

Tuesday, April 1st. Walked for an hour this morning 
upon the Battery. Read fifty pages in Chitty, wrote a 
little at the office. Dined at half past three. Read a little 




noted (Ttunoin vdt baiu sd ol nsw Ai o . w:> ni had ovi?ri 

nt-1 I triginc f .somgi .;>n . miv i. ivi ibnoms g<ii^«m 
>i noaqniot. i xi / • > >1 HiVi o: s'/o^m >) 

9ior ■ ,y«uD ni nxnq viVS baafl aHt noqn 


Italian. Walked out to Fort Greene. Read the Quarterly 
Review for an hour. This is my ordinary complement of 
exercise, study and relaxation. I have received a letter 
from my old friend, M. N. Butler, written in his warmest 
vein of humour and kindness. It is pleasant to receive a 
memorial of this kind, especially in the selfishness and 
capacity of a large town, that comes fresh and warm hearted 
from a dweller and a friend amidst one’s native hills. I 
have attempted no rhymes of late, and I have never read 
but very little poetry, and when I compare my meagre 
miserable productions with those of true poets, I resolve 
to blot them out of existence, yet it is gratifying to read 
over my old college effusions for “ auld lang syne.” 

Saturday, April 6th. Attended the French Church this 
morning. This evening I have run through a novel termed 
“ Self Devotion.” It is the harmless offspring of a female 
mind. “ My Lord ” and “ Lady ” with all the clap trap of 
titular distinction etc. are of course presented and the clos¬ 
ing scene, a trial, in an English Court, is a perfect legal 
farce. The last week has been warm and sunny, but today 
brings us a slight fall of snow. 

Wednesday, April 16th. Sunday last I visited Uncle 
Robert. Yesterday went with Filey, Lee and Ordrinaux, 
fellow students, on a little excursion to Staten Island. Have 
of late in consequence of the weak state of my eyes fre¬ 
quented the Courts. Heard David Graham and Mr. At¬ 
torney Whiting sum up in the trial of Mrs. Bodine for 
murder. Passed last evening with Mr. Coggeshall; was 
introduced to a lady, Mrs. Lee, recently from Europe, a 
resident of Geneva. She invited me to her house when¬ 
ever I chanced on a trip to Niagara. Other occupations 
have forced me for a few days to neglect Italian, but this 
evening I shall make up for some lost time. My Father 
tells me he is a member of the Lower House and Cutler 
of the Senate this spring. Their joint influence, if delicacy 
permitted, would obtain for me the post of Clerk of the 



Wednesday, April 23rd. I have passed almost every 
evening at home for the last three weeks. Have reached 
the 3rd Book of the “ Favole Del La Fontaine.'' Still 
reading “ Chitty on Contracts.'' Next Tuesday evening 
Miss Charlotte Chapman* is to be married. I shall en¬ 
deavor to be present. 

Friday, April 23th. Tomorrow night I intend leaving 
for Derby in a small steam propeller, but a stiff gale is 
springing up from the Northeast that threatens detention. 
Spring renders the gardens around us one beautiful 
bouquet. Pear trees have been in bloom for some days. 

Monday, April 28th. Yesterday morning attended 
Mr. Vinton's Church. In the afternoon I heard a sermon 
by Dr. Field, Lord Bishop of Newfoundland. It was a 
simple, clear, and classical discourse; I have rarely listened 
to one with more attention. The Bishop is a tall, noble 
looking man; as he stood by the altar in his robes, I thought 
only of an old Roman hewn out of granite. I did not sit 
near enough to observe well his profile but I will attempt 
something; this does him gross injustice and is so wretched 
a failure that I shall make no experiments of the same 
kind in future. 

Thursday, May 1st. Tuesday last I left at 7 A. M. 
with a number of gentlemen to attend Cousin Charlotte's 
wedding. We arrived in Hartford at 3 P. M. My visit 
to Hartford though brief was very agreeable. 

Friday, May 2nd. I have today finshed reading 
“ Chitty on Contracts." I shall now devote a few days to 
a general review of “ Pleadings and Practice." Priest 
passed last evening with me, Mr. C. Prince part of this. 
Examined today the oldest records in King’s County Clerk’s 
office extending back to 1683. 

Tuesday, May 13th. The most exciting race that has 
ever been in this country, came off this afternoon between 
Fashion and Peytona, otherwise the North and the South, 

*The mother of Mrs. John Buckingham married Mr. Samuel McLean of 


nibs*! barltnft x®* 5 ' 1 ’ ,v * fl 'l*' 1 ' ' : „ 



[ 1845 ] 

for $20,000. All New York has been out there, and throngs 
of persons and carriages are passing under the windows as 
they return. A Mr. Berrie from Canada, three children, 
and Governess, on their way to England, have been tarry¬ 
ing at Miss Hayt's. He is a friend of Lockhart’s, and a 
well educated, highly respectable and wealthy man going 
home to receive a fortune, and make a tour with his family 
upon the Continent. He is utterly different from the (soi 
disant) English gentleman that so often appears in this 
mercantile community. 

Tuesday, May 27th. Yesterday and today have been 
passed in the Supreme Court listening to the arguments 
in the case of Norton vs Roy. After remaining in the 
heated room five or six hours, I walked out into the Park 
a short distance from the City Hall to breathe the fresh 
air, when I was startled by the report of a heavily loaded 
pistol at my side. At the same instant I saw the hat fly 
from the head of a man a few paces from where I was 
standing and his form at the same time sink into the grass. 
As I proceeded to him 1 remarked to an elderly gentleman 
“ There is a man who has shot himself,” but he only re¬ 
plied by an incredulous look. When I reached him I 
found the skull torn away about one inch over the right 
eye and small portions of blood and brain scattered over 
his face, bosom and scarf. He was an extremely fine look¬ 
ing man about eight and twenty and very genteely clothed. 
A partner of Benjamin F. Butler’s recognized him as a 
lawyer by the name of Wilson. He was dead before I 
reached him. “ lam te premet nox, fabulaeque manes ”. 

Sunday, June 1st. The young lawyer referred to in 
my last entry was a talented Scotchman who became dis¬ 
couraged by his ill success in the outset of professional 
life. He left a wife and family to the charities of his 
brethren at the Bar. During the past week I have reviewed 
my studies. Yesterday I took a trip to Clifton with John 
Ordinaux. Have commenced reading Keightley’s Greece. 




I atotei bBsb m w oH aorfiW \o srniin aril {d 

US 4 S'] 


Thursday, June 12th. Yesterday morning I left New 
York at half past six A. M. and reached home at 5 P. M. 
We came to New Haven on board of the Traveller, a new 
boat and making her first trip. I whiled away a good 
portion of time in reading a novel by the mulatto, Alex¬ 
andre Dumas. May he live to show the world that a man 
may be a man though his skin is stained by African blood. 
In the stage we had the charming little wife of a Naval 
Officer, who honored me with the custody of a huge bou¬ 
quet that she was bringing from Newport. She was as 
artless as a child, and in truth was almost a child in years; 
yet she said that her husband had been for many months 
on the Brazil station. I was much interested in observing 
her emotion and delight at meeting her Father. My 
Mother appears in very good health for her. My father 
is at the Legislature. 

Saturday, June 14th. Yesterday afternoon I went on 
a very successful fishing excursion to the neighboring lake 
with George Woodruff. This morning I read the Edin¬ 
burgh Review. Have just received a call from my old 
chum, Frisbie. I expect my Father will return from Hart¬ 
ford this afternoon where he has been attending the Session 
of the Legislature for the last six weeks. 

Thursday, June 19th. My time passes very quietly and 
very agreeably. Having recently read “ Keightly’s Greek 
History,” I feel anxious to study that more thoroughly 
from the fountain heads if possible. I have an old folio 
copy of Thucydides that belonged to my Grandfather’s 
Library, and “ Xenophontis Historia Graeca ” which I had 
but did not read at College. I have formed the habit of 
reading a chapter in the latter part of every morning and 
then a little Italian. My life is now one of perfect ease 
and leisure. Sometimes I exercise in the garden and oc¬ 
casionally on horseback but most of the time I pass in 


If /, V. lo s) i f :»! til snifmnriD ori) bfri ow aril nl 

e'lsd abn ;iO Vm oj ’>■ i.Hobd wbibvouriT lo yqco 


% Friday, July 4th. The rain which has continued for 
the last three days has now ceased, and this morning of 
our national anniversary which commences the seventieth 
year of our National Independence, is one of the brightest 
and fairest that an unclouded sky and a July sun can afford. 
Save the flags on the hickory and ash-poles, and the roaring 
of cannon far away among the distant hills, there is nothing 
to indicate the nature of the day. The spirit of Sleepy 
Hollow broods over everything. Since writing the above I 
have been to Plymouth to visit Friend Butler. When four 
miles from here while riding my horse at full speed, he 
stumbled, throwing me full ten feet over his head; fortun¬ 
ately I escaped injury. I ran the gauntlet between two 
cannon on some portion of the road. One discharge was 
right behind me, some ten yards, and my horse plunged 
so violently that I then nearly again lost my seat. Rev. 
Mr. Richardson passed the evening with us. 

Friday, July nth. Monday assisted Father in trying 
the case of Attwood vs Estate of Mr. Hawkins. The same 
day Mr. and Mrs. Morton and Mr. and Mrs. Filly came 
to our house with Miss Wooster. The next day we all 
went to Quasapog on a fishing excursion where we met 
General Wooster and Lady and some others. The day was 
passed most delightfully. We caught an abundance of fish 
so that we were supplied with a good and substantial pic 
nic dinner. At evening we all parted, well sunburned, and 
well pleased with the day’s sport, each going a different 
road, our kinsfolk leaving for Humphrysville intending to 
go to New York the next day. Yesterday I was again at 
the lake. This entry comprises the most pleasant week as 
yet of my vacation. Perhaps, however, I merely think so 
because I am in unusually good humor this morning. 

Sunday, July 13th. On Tuesday, Deus Volens, I intend 
starting on a trip for the North with Malcolm Butler. I 
trust at that time the heat will be less. 



(Journey to Whitehall and Lake George is omitted as it 
is all guide book stuff. The only interest lies in its being 
made with a horse. My father loved to employ the art of 
description. I think he would have enjoyed a literary 
career but probably his imagination was not sufficient.) 

Tuesday, July 22. After a night of martyrdom from 
numerous little foes, we commenced our journey at sun¬ 
rise. We passed over Fishkill Creek which arrested by its 
swollen waters the retreat of Gen. Burgovne, and saw the 
old Schuyler mansion and the heights where the final en¬ 
campment was made. We then followed the road which 
he took in his march and subsequent retreat. We were 
shown the battle ground on Bemus Heights and the ruins 
of the house to which, when wounded, the gallant Fraser 
was carried. Our good fortune caused us to meet an old 
gentleman who politely explained the affair to us. This 
gentleman was nine years old at the time and lives near the 
battle ground. His father commanded a company of 
Minute men, and he gave us some interesting details of the 
state of things at that time. “ Whenever the Indians, or the 
Tories who were much worse, made an incursion,” said 
our informant, <( The alarm was given and I have seen this 
road crowded with the Minute men hurrying up to Old 
Phil Schuyler’s. I always rode up behind my father so 
as to bring the horse back.” 

Passing through Stillwater and Waterford we dined at 
Troy. The two last are large and well built towns. In 
the afternoon we rode through Greenbush to Castleton 
where we passed the night. Greenbush is a miserable, dirty 
hole. On our ride we saw many beautiful seats, particularly 
the Van Renssalaer. Old Gov. Clinton's residence pre¬ 
sented a shabby appearance in the meadows bordering upon 
the river. 

Friday, Aug. 1. Yesterday Cousins James and Joseph 
Noyes called, and I have spent the morning at the lake with 
Joseph. They have now left. 



1 * 845 ] 

Sunday, Aug. 3. Last evening news came of the sud- 
dent death of Judge Butler. Today I go with my Father 
to attend the funeral. Tomorrow I leave for Hartford. 

Monday, Aug. 4. Hartford. Left home at 7 A. M.; 
rode with Father to Waterbury. Called on Mrs. Sarah 
Morton and saw divers old acquaintances. Left at half 
past eight in a crowded stage and reached Meriden at half 
past eleven. At half past twelve P. M. started in the cars 
for Hartford. Saw some old college friends on board of 
them. Called after dinner on Mrs. Chapman and Mrs. 
Powers. Attended prayers at the College Chapel. After 
tea called at Mrs. Trumbull's and found the family all 
absent. Passed the evening at Bishop Brownell’s. 

Tuesday, August 5. This has been a very hot day. I 
lay awake half the night from the fumes of green tea which 
I drank by mistake. Called on Mr. Bradley and Mrs. 
Powers before dinner, then on the Misses Sheldon, and at 
Gov. Ellsworth's. After tea called on Mrs. Sigourney 
whom I found confined by illness, and after that at Misses 
Draper’s and Bishop Brownell's. 

Wednesday, Aug. 6. In the morning attended a meet¬ 
ing of the Alumni. Afternoon listened to Oration of Rev. 
Mr. Morgan and Poem of Rev. Mr. Everest. Took tea at 
Gov. Ellsworth’s and accompanied the young ladies to the 
Laying of the Corner Stone of the new college, and to 
Junior Exhibition. 

Thursday, Aug. 7. Attended meeting of the Athe¬ 
naeum and Alumni in the morning. After the Commence¬ 
ment exercises dined with the Alumni. In the afternoon 
I was initiated into the O. B. K. In the evening partook 
of a supper with many old college friends. 

Friday, Aug. 8th. Left Plartford in company with 
Cousin Charles Chapman. We walked from Plymouth 
Hollow to Watertown, which we reached about 10 P. M. 

Thursday, Aug. 21. Charles Chapman left this morn¬ 
ing. The past ten days have been consumed by us in fish¬ 
ing, shooting, riding, etc. My books and journal have been 



■ ■ ' *•- • ‘ 

,| if ! m; ! ' ■ " ‘ ' 

U845 3 

entirely laid aside. This day is a painful anniversary in 
our family. It is nine years since my brother Henry died. 

Tuesday, September 2. The time of my departure is 
drawing near. The last few days I have been in no mood 
for reading or studying. Fishing and running over the 
chapters of some good and more silly novels have been 
my most intellectual pursuits. 

Saturday, September 6. My eyes weak. Father is 
reading the Political History of New York to me, and when 
amusement fails from this source, I wander about the woods 
with a fowling-piece, but am rarely guilty of any slaughter. 

New York 

Monday, Sept. 15. I have been at the office this morn¬ 
ing for the first time. The noise is perfectly stunning. 
I find myself sighing for the tranquility of the country. 

Thursday, Sept. 18. Have been reading Longfellow’s 
“ Voices of the Night.” His poems are very excellent. The 
thoughts and the rhythm are striking and beautiful. 

October 2, Thursday. I have just returned from Uncle 
Robert’s where I went yesterday. I passed the morning 
in shooting on the Uplands with John Jay Livingston, 
whose niece my Uncle espoused. 

New York 

Sunday, Oct. 19, 1845. I have again changed my resi¬ 
dence. Yesterday I commenced boarding with the Rev. 
C. H. Williamson, Pastor of a French Church. I trust 
that by spring I shall be able to converse in the language 
and to write it correctly. 

Saturday, Nov. 15. M. Boquet was at tea this evening. 
He is in the City studying English and delivering lectures 
in French to his countrymen. His lectures are upon France 
and its religious condition. As a Catholic clergyman he 
received the dying breath of the late Due D’Orleans and 
he is now an avowed advocate of the Protestant faith. I 
passed most of the evening at Misses Roberts. The con- 


t noH3fliviJ ;kI nriot r&r* neiqU orfi no gnhood* ni 



[1845 an d 1846] 

versation commenced in French but flagged so soon on my 
part that we betook ourselves to English. 

Sunday, November 23. Rain this morning but now, 
6 P. M., clear and cold. This morning I attended Mr. 
Verren’s Church. Yesterday I visited with John Ordri- 
naux Trinity Cemetery, the Croton Bridge, and Harlem. 
Wm. P. Lee, one of the most agreeable students with Mr. 
Noyes, has left for another office. During the past week 
I have made some progress in French by the aid of Signor 
Secchi, a young Italian, who boards with us and speaks 
French well, and with whom I walk every morning upon 
the Battery. 

Dec. 13, Saturday Eve. Thursday night went with 
Powers to hear Mr. Kean and Lady in Ion. Her personi¬ 
fication of the latter character was perfection itself. Yes¬ 
terday I received a letter from my old chum, Frisbie, and 
another from James Phelps. 

Christmas Day, 1845. I have been perusing my Christ¬ 
mas commentaries for the past five years and my skeleton 
of a journal is a source of considerable pleasure to me. 
My whole time is at the present devoted to the acquisition 
of French and Law. Yesterday I finished Graham's Prac¬ 
tice. I shall pass the day chez moi. I should like much 
to spend the day with my friends in Connecticut, but that 
I fear will be a pleasure long denied me. This Festival 
of the Church reminds me of the many favors and blessings 
for which I have to thank God. 

New Year’s Eve. 1846. I find myself weary and worn 
after having made thirty four calls during the day in New 
York and Brooklyn, and in no condition of body or mind 
to review the past, or resolve for the future, so thanking 
God for his past kindnesses and mercies and praying that 
they may be continued to me in future I seek my pillow. 

Wednesday, January 7. Yesterday I obtained an order 
from Judge Ulshoeffer for examination as attorney of the 
Court of Common Pleas; he appointed examiners and I 


- . . , , 

▼ / 

[I8 4 6] 

passed my examination in the afternoon, which was merely 
formal, and this morning I appeared in Court, took the 
Oath, and signed the Roll, and henceforth I may con¬ 
sider myself an Attorney. 

Sunday, January n. Last evening I heard Kean in 
Richard 3rd, and his wife as Queen of Edward Fourth. 
It was the first time I had ever heard it played; in some 
parts he did not equal my anticipations, but on the whole 
I derived a great deal of pleasure from it. Mrs. Kean 
played her part admirably. The scene where she takes 
leave of her children in the Tower was truly affecting. 
I thought of the wonderful genius. How truly “ he was 
not for a day but for all time.” There are Homer, and 
Shakespeare, who stand on the dizzy height with the mists 
of ages rolling all around them; they have touched chords 
that will vibrate sweet music as long as man exists; -there 
let them stand forever to receive the homage of all time. 

Sunday, March 29. The weeks fly fast. The Battery 
is green, and the sun shines warm and pleasant. I have 
commenced reading 11 Conklin’s Treatise upon the Practice 
of the United States Courts.” 

- Sunday, April 5. The past week has been clear and 
sunny. Yesterday the Rev. Dr. Totten called at the office 
and informed me that I was appointed to the Masters’ 
Oration at the approaching Commencement. The idea of 
going back after a three years’ absence, and making a col¬ 
lege speech, seems quite a retrograde movement. 

Friday Evening April 17. Last week on Friday I quit 
for Connecticut. It was very cold and rained and snowed 
most of the time. Tuesday I went with my Father to 
Litchfield, and that afternoon I was admitted by a Resolu¬ 
tion of the Bar Attorney and Counsellor for all the Courts 
of Connecticut. In the morning I received my Certificate 
and took the Oath in open Court. Yesterday I returned to 
New York, and today I have been engaged in making some 
arrangements for my future course. I have taken an office 

1 77 




0 > 

[iS 4 6] 

adjoining that of Mr. Merrill for $62.50 per annum of 
George Griswold. 

Sunday, April 26. I have been studying “ Burrill’s 
Practice ” very attentively during the past week. Have 
read a little French, and passed most of the evenings in 

Sunday, May 10. It has rained every moment this 
week and is still pouring. I have studied some and 
worked a good deal for little pay. This Examination 
for which I am unprepared hangs over me like a cloud. 
My next entry will announce the result. 

Saturday, May 16. On Thursday afternoon we were 
examined and I passed through without the slightest diffi¬ 
culty. Mr. Charles O'Connor and Mr. H. Spencer ex¬ 
amined me, the first on Bills of Exceptions and writs of 
Error, the latter upon Replevin. Nine out of the class 
of ninety were rejected, amongst them a colored man, now 
rejected for the fourth time on the ground of deficiency 
in qualifications. Yesterday I subscribed the roll and took 
the Oath in open Court. Three years from this time I 
shall be admitted Counsellor; during those three years 
what will come of me and my little journal? 

Sunday, May 24. Thursday I attended the consecra¬ 
tion of Trinity Church. The music was good and the 
spectacle magnificent. Two hundred and fifty clergymen 
in their robes with the Bishop, knelt around the altar at 
the same time. No scene was ever more impressive. I 
have perfected my first judgment during the past wek. 

Friday, June 5. I am now writing in my own office un¬ 
der. my own fig tree, and a lawyer, un avocat. Wednesday I 
was admitted a Solicitor and Counsellor of the Court of 
Chancery, and the same day a Counsellor of the Court of 
Common Pleas. My Father has been here for the past 
few days. Monday we drove to Uncle Robert’s. Yester¬ 
day while decomposing from the excessive heat, we had 
our daguerreotypes taken. My Father had designed go- 





•1 jS.fO] 

ing to Washington but the heat was so great that this 
morning he hastened home. 

Friday, June 26. Nothing to do; business dull; if things 
are not better I shall emigrate to Texas. 

Saturday, July 4. It has rained all night and still rains; 
the Battery is filled with troops. All looks dull and dreary. 
I must endeavor to make some progress today with my 
Master’s Oration. 

Monday, August 3. Saturday my old school and col¬ 
lege friend, Tracy, called to see me; he is a lawyer in Chi¬ 
cago. I dined with him at the Astor. In the evening we 
went to Niblo’s; afterwards we adjourned to Hotel Del- 
monico. Next Friday I deliver my Master’s Oration. 

Friday, August 21. Yesterday I returned from Con¬ 
necticut. Left home at 7 A. M. and reached New York 
at 6 P. M. Cousin Charles Chapman, who has been at 
our house since Commencement came down in the boat 
with me. My Oration went off better than I anticipated, 
for I was aware that it was rather a crude affair. 

I passed one week very agreeably at Hartford and the 
other at home, riding, fishing, etc. It is just ten years 
today since my brother Henry died; how bright and how 
beautiful were those days of our childhood when we 
journeyed on together. 

Wednesday, Sept. 16. The weather changed suddenly 
yesterday and it is now quite cool and pleasant, for the 
first time this month. I have commenced reading Spanish 
and English with a Spanish gentleman for the purpose 
•of mutual improvement in each other’s language. I think 
I will study the grammar and learn to speak it for it is 
spoken a good deal at my boarding house. My business is 
so slight that I have considerable vacant time. I am read¬ 
ing Ci ccro de Oratore and Greenlief on Evidence. 

Wednesday, Sept. 23. Monday afternoon I accom¬ 
panied my friend Smith or Smidt, as his Dutch ancestors 
wrote it, to Nyack. This was my first trip up the Hudson, 





and as it was delightful September afternoon, and my 
friend perfectly familiar with all the Lions upon the route, 
I enjoyed it very much. As we approached Tarrytown 
he pointed out to me the beautiful country seat of Paulding 
and the roof of Irving’s Gothic cottage just peeping up 
from the dense foliage of the surrounding trees. Sleepy 
Hollow was pointed out as just above the village, but it 
was fast becoming too obscure to discover even the shadows 
of the valleys, and a few moments found us en route for 
the residence of my friend. Opening a gate we followed 
a carriage-way that soon showed us the top of his house 
emerging from the trees and shrubbery, and the hearty 
barking of a large Newfoundland dog announced our ar¬ 
rival. The next morning I visited the old Dutch stone 
tavern in Tappan where Major Andre was confined, and 
saw the room, or rather the traces of it, for it is now 
enlarged into a dancing room. Near by is the Church 
which stands upon the site of the one in which Andre was 
tried, and a short distance back from the river rises a hill, 
crowned with a peach orchard, upon the summit of which 
Andre was executed. The old stone tavern has been there, 
and used as such beyond the memory of man. Old Mr. 
Bogart, now 95 years of age, says that it was an old build¬ 
ing when he was a boy. Two hundred yards from there is 
an old brick farmhouse with the figures 1700 in front, 
formed by the insertion of bricks of a different color from 
the rest. This building was occupied by Gen. Washing¬ 
ton as his headquarters. The mistress of the house very 
politely received us, and showed us the room occupied by 
Gen. Washington, with its glass cupboard in the corner 
which she says has remained unchanged during this long 
interval. There is something still beautiful in the heavy 
oak timbers of its ceiling and the numerous tiles which 
decorate the fireplace. After taking a fine drive through 
the country I left at One P. M., and found myself after a 
delightful trip down the river, at three o’clock in New 


, Uii ,s 3 sUiv -<(iJ »vodi m\ *« no ; ’ U ^ 

EWobtrie >di ibva isvooeib o) w«r;>ad« ool S' .n.o. ■ •'•••.-••• 

S nor aidl 8 nh.;b b 3S nnrl',n U fc>n.wn« a*d . 

[1846 and /<?.//] 

Wednesday, Nov. n. It has rained continually for the 
last two weeks. Yesterday I tried my first case in Common 
Pleas; got beat, as I expected to. I do nothing but sit in 
my office; for the last few days I have neglected my Spanish 
very much. 

Monday evening, Dec. 7. A terrible day, storm, snow, 
and sleet. Poor Mrs. Morton died yesterday at a quarter 
past five a. m. and was buried this afternoon at half past 
two in Greenwood Cemetery. She was generous, and 
warm-hearted by nature, and in religion a most sincere and 
devout Christian. 

Sunday, Dec. 13. Mr. Peter Morton died today at two 
o’clock. I went there to dine, as he had expressed a wish 
that I should renew my old custom which had been broken 
off for some time in consequence of Mrs. Morton’s illness. 
I found the family very much engrossed with his rapid 
declension, and I dined at Mr. Filley’s. We had scarcely 
finished dinner when the news came that Mr. Morton was 
worse. We hurried to the house but found him dead. Fie 
died without a struggle, and has never suffered any severe 

Christmas, Saturday, Dec. 26, 1846. 

I dined yesterday at Mr. Taylor's where I met old Mr. 
Goodwin, a former friend of Grandfather Edmond. I 
passed the day very pleasantly. 

New Year’s 1847. I have passed this festival as usual 
making more than thirty calls some of them very agree¬ 
able. In the evening I was at a small party at Mr. Foote’s 
where I met Prof. Davies who politely invited me to his 
house. Too fatigued to sleep, I retired at 12. 

Monday, March 1. The first day of spring comes with 
a high, disagreeable wind. Plave this day been admitted 
Attorney and Counsellor in the Kings Co. Common Pleas. 

Wednesday, March 24. My first cause was called for 
trial today and passed by the Judge at a long cause. In a 
few days I quit my quarters at Brooklyn. My Aunt leaves 



dsiruqS bwl&n tw.rl I «X«b «■ )»: 





for Connecticut, and I have availed myself of a newspaper 
advertisement to avoid running around for a lodging room. 
My health and business continue as usual. My charges 
amount to something, but I am so unhappy as not to col¬ 
lect much. 

Saturday, April io. Time dies with tremendous rapid¬ 
ity, weeks fly like days. Glorious news comes to us from 
the seat of war. Last week we heard of the victory of 
Buena Vista. Today every flag in the city is flying in 
honor of the capture of Vera Cruz and the Castle of San 
Juan D'Ullua. 

Friday, April 16. This evening I am going to the 
New Opera. A large Italian troupe has arrived from 
Havana and seem to make a good sensation. 

Wednesday, April 21. Last evening I was at the 
theatre. Mrs. Mason played Marianna in The Wife. Was 
not as much pleased with her acting as I had anticipated. 

May 1. It is just one year ago today since I commenced 
the practice of law & nailed up my shingle. I have suc¬ 
ceeded better than I anticipated, and hope that I shall be 
able to make enough from my business to defray all of my 
expenses for the next year. The following is my pecuniary 
statement for the past year. 

Personal Expenses.$700.78 

Total of charges fees etc. for past year.$1288.55 

Of this amount collected . 506.00 

Of this last amount doubtful 




Of this remainder perfectly bad & hopeless. 79.00 

Good and now due 

^S4 r *55 

..luii luo! 'fiuorcifi iski lO 

11847 ] 

Estimates for Ensuing Year. 

Rent of Office etc. Books, Law Institute Share. . . .$200.00 

Board and washing average $6.00 per week. 312.00 ceteras. 200.00 

Contingencies . 100.00 


To meet this outlay I have due for old business. . . 541.55 
I shall derive from business now in hand. 300.00 


May 10, 1847, Monday. I have attended today at the 
Kings Co. Circuit. It is excessively hot. Saturday, I re¬ 
moved my lodgings to M. Pelerin Hotel. 

Sunday, May 30. The evening of the 26th, I accom¬ 
panied my friend and fellow-student or rather my student 
to Cold Spring in Suffolk Counry. That evening I at¬ 
tended a large party at Mr. Jones. I was presented to 
various handsome ladies and stout men. Among others I 
scraped the acquaintance of Mr. Churchill C. Cambrel- 
ing, who is quite distinguished as a politician. The evening 
passed off delightfully. Beauty, music, dancing, and cham¬ 
pagne, conspired to gratify the tastes of all. The next 
day we fished, walked about the neighboring country, and 
before six o’clock the morning after, were en route by 
steamboat for New York. The loveliness of the morning, 
the enchanting freshness and beauty of the adjacent shores 

and the conversation of the charming Miss D-, 

gave a zest to steamboat travelling on Long Island Sound 
that was altogether new to me. 

Wednesday, July 7. I have just returned from Water- 
town whither I went on the 2nd inst. I have visited mv 
friends there, caught a few perch, and for a brief interval 
escaped the heat and bustle of this great Baliel. 

Wednesday, September 29. 1847. I am twenty-four 

years of age today. On the 24th, 1 went to Hartford and 
now en route for New York with my head full of Miss- 


”1311 t moil bsmui'ji teuj 5 1 *\' :i, i # vx; 

: ' {i ' 1 ' 3 •’ 



Thursday, October 28. Last evening I called on Miss 

. at the Astor House. Today I have engaged to 

go with her to the monument room of Trinity. I am 
gradually improving in health. The weather is excessively 
cold. Day before yesterday I was at Uncle Robert's. I 
found him extremely weak and pale. Poor man, he has 
suffered severely and it pained me to see him with his 

wooden leg. I find the presence in town of Miss. 

quite unfits me for business. Elle est jolie amiable, et je 
l’aime comme je n’ai jamais aime une femme. 

Thursday, November 11. My business is the great 
monopolizer of all my time and thoughts. Not all of my 
thoughts, for the accomplished, pretty, amiable and in all 
respects most lovely Miss. runs in my head con¬ 

tinually. Last night I dreamed of her four times, so that 
I find she is the subject of my sleeping as well as of my 
waking thoughts. Never woman has so touched this cold 
heart of mine. Oh Dieu aye pitie de moi et donne que 
nous vivions ensemble. 

Thursday, December 23. I returned last night from 
Hartford, from what I fear to be most certain indications, 
toutes mes esperances, si cheries sont evanouies a jamais. I 
have seen many of my friends, and had it not been for a 
cruel disappointment, I should have passed my time very 
agreeably. On the evening of the 9th of this month, I was 
initiated a member of the Independent Order of Odd 
Fellows. To divert my mind from dwelling on a most 
painful subject, I shall work, toil, and strive in the arena 
of my profession as I have never heretofore done. The 
future, boundless, glorious, is before me, and struggling 
with every energy of soul and body, I carve my destiny. 

Christmas Day, 1847. I am engaged to dine at Mr. 
Taylor’s where I dined last Christmas. I have been look¬ 
ing over my journal, and find that I am now pursuing an 
enterprise that I commenced in boyhood. 



ym \o !!b io VI .yrfgooriJ bnc emit (m fi il 

nil trm bnn .am aiolad ?i ,2uonoI§ ,e:}Ihn.)od piuiul 


(Letter from Mrs. Holbrook Curtis to her son.) 

Watertown, December 28 th 1847 

Dear William, 

As this is the only letter I have received from you 
during a number of years,* I lay aside all engagements to 
answer it. You remark Christmas was a dull day with 
you, It snowed here, but did not prevent your Father's re¬ 
turn at Evening from Litchfield. He left on Monday in 
a Waggon, intending to be here at New Year. These 
seasons my dear Son, bring to mind many of the scenes 
through which I have passed. Nearly 25 years were spent 
under my Father's roof, free from care and sorrow, my 
greatest unhappiness was a frail constitution, more so than 
any member of the family. Owing to this circumstance, 
I had resolved on a single life, but your Father told me he 
had a Competence for the present. I believed I should 
be treated with respect and kindness. Without flattery, 
I can say to you he was a man of fair reputation, and I 
was induced to come here. My Parents were becoming 
aged, I had Brothers and Sister unprovided for, and I con¬ 
sidered it my pleasure and duty. I would advise young 
persons to be married and settled as early in life as con¬ 
venient. Professional men are often obliged to wait until 
30 or thereabouts. All things considered I should prefer 
25. At that period our habits are formed, our former asso¬ 
ciates leave the list and we look about for sympathy in vain, 
unless we have secured a partner in our joys and sorrows. 
I would never invite a lady to leave her Father’s house un¬ 
less I knew my own habits. She should have my Heart and 
its best affections. It should be my constant endeavor to 
have her life pass pleasantly. There is enough of sorrow 
mingled in the cup without a Husband’s adding thereto. 
He should be her Guide and counsellor on all occasions. 
Do not expect perfection here below. A sensible Woman, 

*He always wrote “ My dear parents ”— 





1 \i847] 

and I am sure you would select no other, would be happy 
in knowing you were so, in making your Home an Earthly 
Paradise, when perhaps the writer of these few lines, ad¬ 
dressed by affection, should be added to the list of those 
already gone. In a few months I shall have completed 
half a Century. My Sun is going down, while yours is 
rising. To you we now look for Sympathy, and protection. 
According to the common course of events, we may not be 
spared together many days or years. It therefore behooves 
us to enjoy the present rationally, and of course agreeably. 
Henry would have been 23, Elizabeth 14. I have ever felt 
deeply their loss, and shall continue to, as old age advances. 

Your Father has enjoyed fine health many years, but 
is now beginning to grow old. On his account particularly, 
I desire you to endeavor to add to his Happiness, as it will 
contribute to yours also. My Health, although better, 
keeps me within doors during Winter, and in your Father’s 
absence, were it not for my Housekeeping, I should be 
lonely, although we have frequent calls. 

While my Parents lived, a visit to them afforded more 
pleasure than anything else. Since their death, I have 
visited Newtown but once, as 1 did not wish to be under 
obligation to Dr. Booth. Where a person can occasionally 
mix with refined society it is desirable, as a means of im¬ 
provement. Where mind meets mind, our Ideas, if we have 
any are drawn out, and not smothered for want of room. 
If you had always lived here you would find this a great 
drawback. When you are disposed you can read or con¬ 
verse with intelligent persons. I hope you will have enough 
of wealth to afford you leisure sufficient. As we have re¬ 
sided here so long, we are unfit to live anywhere else, the 
rust of 20 years can never be rubbed off. Our friends if 
we have any will take us just as we are, not what we should 
like to be. We have cause for Gratitude to our Heavenly 
Father for your restoration to Plealth, for the many 
privileges we enjoy, both temporal and spiritual. By 



[1847 an d 1848] 

living in New York we are deprived of your society, 
blit what is our loss, will be your gain. I have written thus 
far with but three interruptions, so you must excuse all 
errors. Mr. Mallory has just called to invite me there with 
Dr. Holcomb this Evening. You will say “ how glad I am 
for Mother began to write and forgot to leave off. I shall 
not send her another letter till the New Year arrives and 
let her write all through, until it returns.” Your Father said 
he would write you from Litchfield. After wishing you 
years of Happiness, and every earthly good, I remain your 
Affectionate Mother, 

Elizabeth Curtis. 

Watertown, Decern. 28th, 1847. 

Journal W. E. C. 

Tuesday, February 22. Washington’s Birthday. I am 
quite busy and in good health. It is a wild and stormy day, 
but the winter has thus far been the mildest I have ever 
known. I was at Uncle Robert's on Saturday. I did not 
see him but found that he has so far regained his strength 
and health as to be able to visit his patients. This in¬ 
formation gave me the greatest pleasure, as when I saw 
him last, I feared for his ultimate recovery. A mass meet¬ 
ing is called today to nominate Gen. Taylor for the Presi¬ 
dency. Monday I went home and yesterday morning I 
left there for this city, whither I arrived last evening 
much refreshed in body and mind by my brief but pleasant 

Monday, March 6th, 1848. I have today received a 
letter from my Father informing me of the death of Mal¬ 
colm N. Butler. This intelligence fills me with affliction. 
He has been for many years one of my dearest and most 
cherished friends. At school, at College, as students, at 
the bar, I have long known and loved him. He was my 
companion at home, and in most of my sporting excursions. 

Friday, April 28th. Tomorrow I intend to move to 
Number 54 Wall Street. This is the last quiet evening that 


.nir .oc ( Hi ys. ,eeoI iuo ii jnri 7 Jud 

r bfvmsa /*' c*J svnr t ; rftd rrd/: f >;fibaoM 



I am to pass in this little room where I commenced my 
professional career. May I in future succeed, ever being 
grateful to the kind friends who have kindly assisted me 
thus far with advice, funds, and business. 

(Letter from Holbrook Curtis to his son William) 

Watertown 26th May 1848 

William E. Curtis Esq. 

Wall Street No. 54 
New York 
Dear William 

The wit of an Englishman, they say, always comes when 
the occasion for it is past, it is but too apt to be so with 
me. When I was in New Haven Mr. Seymour told me 
his wife was going to New York, I told him you were 
going down, he said if you would take charge of Mrs. 
Seymour he thought he should not go. I entirely forgot 
to mention it to you, which I much regretted, Mrs. Sey¬ 
mour has had the misfortune to lose her voice, can speak 
only in a whisper, but is a fine good woman & house 
keeper & has been very polite to me when at Litchfield, 
as I have taken Tea there in two or three instances, and 
I never had any opportunity of making my acknowledge¬ 
ments but by removing her husband from being Clerk of 
the Court. The Superior Court was in session when I was 
at New York & I corresponded with Mr S who took care 
of what little business I had & Mrs Seymour took quite 
an interest in your sickness. If you made her acquaintance 
in going down so far as to justify it, I wish you would just 
call on her, and show some little civility to her, she is 
probably with her brother Woodruff. If you have not 
made her acquaintance, little matter. 

Our Legislature is in a row about our Senators, after 
the passage of the resolution appointing Baldwin & Smith 
by the House of Representatives, when we were then on 
the motion of a Member on Monday — a motion was made 



. :vA IB 

ti iri 2 .-nr! u? tfiltvb stall *nc* wod* bnr. ,wi! no lino 


to ask a return of the resolutions to the House of Repre¬ 
sentatives, proposed by Senate which was carried, 6c they 
were returned where they now are 6c the business I under¬ 
stood was accompanied with much confusion 6c disorder, 
and has elicited much feeling. Our relative and friend 
Chapman is in the whirlwind, voting for the most part 
with the Loco Focos, and has call’d forth so much indig¬ 
nation from the Whigs, that unless his feelings are some¬ 
what tough they will probably be wounded from the many 
arrows to which they are exposed. 

I came home the same afternoon you left from New 
Haven, your Mother has been somewhat complaining 
from over work in cleaning the house for summer, but is 
again mending. I am short of money at this time or I 
would come to New York & buy some few things we need 
for family use. I suppose you have taken quarters at Staten 
Island, the weather has not been hot here since Sunday, 
but has been very wet. I think perhaps during the hot 
weather you had best not confine yourself too much to your 
office. Will you not be expos’d to disease in your passages 
to 6c from Staten Island from the quarantine ground? 
I am confident that with prudence you have constitution 
enough to avoid other disease than Epidemic during the 
summer. Mr. Morrell told me he had never been sick 
in New York, though he had a frail constitution, if you 
have complaint or constant headache I think you had best 
take a trip up here or into the Country somewhere unless 
your passages between N. Y. 6c Staten Isld should dis¬ 
pell it . As it regards the $100 towards purchas¬ 
ing the lot of Books you mention. My ability to do it with 
convenience without impairing my Principal, must depend 
upon contingencies. 

I do not think our Connecticut Whiggery very stable 
in any respect. The accessions we have from Loco Focoism 
from time to time rather weaken than increase our strength. 
I think men constituted like our friend Chapman do best 




in the ranks of the Loco Focos, he is rather a handsome 
speaker, but that is of little use without discretion 6c judg¬ 
ment, with the Locos extravagance & innovations were not 
out of place. 

I suppose the French boarders at Pelerines consider 
their country regenerated, and all our Citizens seem to re¬ 
joice in their support. I remember something 6c have 
heard more of the old Grand Revolution. Although France 
is much improved since that time, has a much greater 
number of Freeholders, and the impression of the past. 
I fear that from their universal suffrage, Communism, 
Socialism 6c Grulvism, the old Sans Culotts will have too 
much influence to permit the Tree of Liberty to bear much 

It yet remains a problem whether any people are 
capable of self government. Our own Republic is yet 
young, but the cause of Liberty has received many shocks 
during its existence and although I sympathize strongly 
with all persons who wish to be free, I have less confidence 
than many that the cause of Liberty will be much pro¬ 
moted in Europe, by the present excitement on the subject. 
That it may never cease to exist here, which our Country 
6 c People wish, is my first wish 6c prayer, but since the 
first framing of our Constitution we have been becoming 
more Jacobinical, If I may be allowed the expression. 
Universal suffrage, electing Judges by the people, for a 
limited time, no qualifications required for the practice of 
law or medicine. Foreigners admitted to the Election 
before they have had time to become acquainted with our 
Constitution.— All these things would have frightened the 
Framers of our Constitution who meant to establish a rep¬ 
resentative Republic 6c not a pure Democracy, they in¬ 
tended that we should have something to gain or lose by 
the stability or instability of our Government 6c that the 
Judiciary should be independent of the consensus of Popu¬ 
lar Opinion. I hope public improvement has been such 


that we may safely endure the alterations and changes to 
which we have been subjected. I think there is a Con¬ 
servative power in New England on which we may rely 
for many years. But I somewhat doubt whether the sta¬ 
bility of many parts of our Country is to be relied on. It 
is however best to look on the bright side of things, I hope 
for the best. Recollecting our duties to God & our Country 
& ourselves, to the last of which we are impelled by the 
first law of nature, that of self preservation, all emotions 
on that line so far as I am concern’d must soon be over, 
61 years almost I have seen, yet I have enjoyed as much 
health and as much otherwise as most persons. I ought 
to be content to look to the balance of life as a state of in¬ 
dolence when not much enjoyment can be had, if with my 
present experience I could pass it again it seems as though 
I could mend it much, but that would not be desireable. 
That you live longer, enjoy more, profit more by early ex¬ 
perience in which you have had better opportunity than 
myself, perform the duties of life better, is among my first 
desires and aspirations and it is a consolation when leaving 
the stage that we reflect that we leave behind us some sub¬ 
stitute that can perform his part better than we have done. 


H. Curtis 

Post script by Mrs. Holbrook Curtis. 

If there is as near a fit to your person in the articles 
you mention, as I discovered by the representation of your 
letter, to the original, you ought not to complain. I per¬ 
ceive you have genius for drawing — although your talents 
have slept “ uncultivated, unhonoured and unsung.’’ Won¬ 
der whether they are hereditary. O Gotham! We were 
astonished, this is truly an age of invention. If you had 
spent Sabbath at Home instead of returning, I think you 
might have enjoyed yourself. We are moving on much as 
usual — I wrote you a long letter 4 months since, which 
you never answered and now tell me you cannot answer 


US 4 8 ] 

my lengthy and frequent epistles — probably being so much 
occupied you had forgotten it. E. C. 

Saturday, May 29. On the 18th. I went to New Haven, 
met my father there at 4 p. m. I went to Hartford, took 
tea with my kinsfolks and the same evening I returned to 
New Haven. Yesterday morning I visited the mineral- 
ogical Cabinet with Mr. Thos. R. Dutton, and passed the 
remainder of the morning at the State House where I 
witnessed the election of Messrs. Baldwin and Smith 
to the position of United States Senators. In the after¬ 
noon I returned to New York. 

:cerpts) letter from Judge Holbrook Curtis 

Watertown June 2 d /48 
We had thought of coming to' New York. I 
suppos d possible I could loan the money on rnortg 6 security 
then at 7 per cent m . And I wish d to invest somewhat for the 
family. But your mother thinks we cant afford it 6c she 
is not prepar d , and not well enough 6cc, &c, and I think 
perhaps we might use so much of our money as to be ob!ig d 
to depend on the Int. without any principal. I had intended 
to go abroad this summer, but conclude my doom is to 
tarry at Watertown what time I have to stay and that I may 
as well make up my mind to it, but if you go to Canada let 
me know when you will go, and I will be govern d by cir¬ 
cumstances. It must be healthy and comfortable in New 
York. Yesterday the thermometer stood at 45 0 and it is 
an ill wind which blows good to no one 

Watertown Wednesday 

Dear William, June 14th / \8 

Your last letter was so much saturated with inflamed 
eyes, & Small Pox, that we felt considerable anxiety about 
you, which has been much increas’d from the fact that we 





have not heard from you for almost a fortnight. If you 
are sick, so much so, as to be unable to write, and yet you 
understand a letter from reading or having it read, we 
would be happy to hear from you by some other hand so 
as to know whether you are in want, in peril, or need our 
cares. I have been wishing to go to New York, but have 
been dissuaded by your Mother, who thinks you may be 
absent, but I see not why on that account I should be less 
liable to hear from you. 

The Weather has been for a week past, cold to a degree 
almost unprecedented with us, for the longest days in the 
Year, thermometer ranging from 45 0 to 50. It is now 11 
oclock 52, the wind has been so high as to prevent much 
Frost, Yet nothing grows in a garden but Bugs, Weeds 
and Cutworms, Yet the weather is very favorable to things 
out of door, not dependent directly on the Earth for sus¬ 
tenance, as Cattle and horses, which appear to be in prime 
condition. Our Legislature continues in session, and will 
I am told for some two weeks to come, The Pvail Roads I 
am told will occupy a great portion of their time. The 
Nomination of General Taylor for Pres 1 by the Whigs, 
will I think breed some dissention in their Ranks, per¬ 
haps however they will gain as much as they will lose, 
for my own part I know Not much of General Taylor, 
but the objections made to him that he has never shewn 
his hand, or given a statement of his Creed with regard 
to the great principles maintain'd by the Whigs (recom¬ 
mends him to my favour). Our Demagogues explain too 
much, & those whose principles hang most loosely about 
them are ready to adopt any principle which they think 
will best sustain them with the people, whether they be¬ 
lieve it or not, & thus attempt to raise themselves on other 
Men’s shoulders. Gen 1 Taylor says “ Gentlemen here I 
am, Vote for me or Not as you choose, My Life is before 
you, let it speak for itself.” Yet I think there is some doubt 
whether the gain will be sufficient to make up for his loss. 





Your Mother is very well indeed, as I am likewise 
and the health of the place with the exception of the 
measles is very fair. You can have your $100 now if you 
want it or wait until I get it from other sources in July. 

I shall not come to N Y k until I hear from you. I think 
if the weather is hot or oppressive, You had best come home 
& stay awhile, here is gardening, fishing, riding, shooting, 
and good air, and those are of more value than all New 
York taken together. If health is den'd you where you 
are, and there is any chance to retain it here, leave all & 
come home at once, for life is worth but little without 

Affectionately & C 

Holbrook Curtis 

Wednesday, June 14, 1848. On Monday last, I heard 
Senator Benton in company with several other distinguished 
Senators and gentlemen speak in the Park before an im¬ 
mense assemblage of several thousands. Their political 
adherents constituted but a small part of the assemblage, 
curiosity attracting the greater portion. The personal ap¬ 
pearance of Benton is striking. His finely formed head, 
Norman nose, and frizzed iron grey locks straggling over 
his high forehead, with a bright, clear expressive eye would 
have impressed a perfect stranger with feelings of interest 
and respect. There was a trace of sagacity and the wily 
politician at times developed in the lines and expression of 
his face while speaking. He is 66 years of age and is fast 
verging to the descending stairs of life. His style in speak¬ 
ing is not very good, or rather his voice and manner, yet 
on the whole there was a clearness and force that pleased 
me. His metaphors were bold and powerful, but never 
simply beautiful. 

Senator Allen of Ohio who succeeded him has the quali¬ 
ties of a popular orator finely developed, with a stentorian 
voice, a piercing eye, expressive countenance, and a warm 
imagination, united to a great deal of action. His man- 



' UM] 

ner, style, and delivery, riveted the attention of many 

Senator Houston told anecdotes, and spoke with the 
ease, adroitness of a stump orator and political veteran. His 
person is commanding and noble, but in conversation he 
was excessively profane. The other Senators exhibited 
little that was profound or remarkable. Never have the 
political lists opened for a presidential tilt with forces 
so shattered and disorganized as at present. As for myself, 
I am at heart a Barnburner, and believe and follow after 
the teachings of John Van Buren. 

Wednesday, August 2. I went to Hartford to Com¬ 
mencement. Stayed at Mrs. Cs house. I heard an oration 
by Mr. Barnard of Albany before the Convocation, and a 
poem by Dr. Croswell of Boston, was pleased with neither. 
Passed a part of the evening at Mr. Joseph Trumbull's. 

Thursday, August 3. Attended meeting of convocation, 
also a part of Commencement exercises, and dined at Mr. 
Trumbull’s. Rode out in the afternoon. Attended a sup¬ 
per of the I. K. A., met some old friends, rather too con- 
vival for nowadays. 

Note — Here are some excerpts from his father’s let¬ 
ters at this time — 

Watertown Sept" 11 th 1848 Monday 
my fault in early life was to charge nothing, to 
decline business from want of assurance if it seem d com¬ 
plex, not having sufficient reliance on myself, if I were 
to commence again I would, before engaging in business, 
ascertain from whom my pay was to come, tell my Client 
as well as I could what I thought of his case, if there was 
a chance, & then go ahead, regardless of difficulties, taking 
such Fees as the law & the Rules of the Bar authoriz d . the 
pleasantest business a lawyer ever does is to argue cases 
when accustom d to it. I know the commencement is diffi¬ 
cult to obtain particularly in New York but it is when 

T 9S 

[IS 48 } 

once commenc d , easy to go ahead, and the facility is con¬ 
stantly increasing, if therefore any young man just be¬ 
ginning should have a case he is willing you should argue, 
do it for nothing if you can make no better terms, it will 
tell in future, but do not overwork yourself, remembering 
that action & reaction are mutual. On the whole you have 
gone along better than I anticipated. I have seen some 
young men who have left N York for want of business . . 

(Excerpts ) 

Watertown Sept 17th 1848 
I am Judge of the C C 1 for Litchfield County, as well 
as the C 1 of Probate for the District of Watertown and 
Town Clerk. The latter office I shall decline and I pre¬ 
sume the two former I shall be relieved of by the Legis¬ 
lature next spring. The Free Soil ticket in Conn 1 , will be 
sustained principally at the expense of the Whigs. It will 
include all the Abolitionists, the discontented who wish 
to ride into distinction by mounting some hobby, who are 
generally among the Whigs. It is possible though not 
probable they may draw off enough to give the state to 
Cass. The truth is that, what renders General Taylor ex¬ 
ceptionable to the scum which rises on the top when the 
Political Pot boils, to those who love to fish in troubled 
waters, and live on Spoils, is his declaration that he wishes 
to be the President of the Country, & not of a Party,— to 
the Politicians whose worth must be tried in the Crucible 
of merit. From all I have heard of General Taylor, I 
think him an honorable, frank, high-minded soldier, above 
the small things which unfortunately are calculated to 
make a candidate for Pres 1 , go down with the Mob and 
the Office Seekers, but very unacquainted with the duties 
of the Office of Pres 1 , he writes well, must have read much, 
but ought not to have been a Candidate. Mr. Van Buren, 
an experienced Politician, is the man who under all circum¬ 
stances keeps cool. His presence of mind is like that of Fred k 
2 d , but I have thought he had much of Sir Robert Walpole 


baWuoi) ni rU9 oi avol oriw ?«ril o) ,tlio< Jo'i isoijiio'-I 


about him, and I confess his present position has lead me to 
ascribe to him qualities which I did not before suppose him 
possessed of, for I had thought that he neither loved or 
hated, but like a Jesuit looked only to the end without re¬ 
garding the means, believing every man had his price and 
that all were dishonest; but has he not something of what 
Tacitus apply d to Tiberius and which Junius quotes as ap¬ 
plicable to Sir W m Draper? (Latin quotation) and does 
he now wish to return the stab he rec d when Polk 
was nominated Pres 1 , perhaps he wishes to do his 
Country Service and I have altogether mistaken his 
character, one thing is true of him, (Van Buren) that to do 
what he has done he must possess great Mental power, for 
without advantages of family or education, for many 
years he was the most influential man in N Y k ; his political 
enemies whom he always in person treated civilly but struck 
fatally when he could, were powerful and he often foil' 1 
them all. On the whole, he is an uncommon man, and when 
he saw himself superceded by such a nobody as Polk, it 
would be a curiosity to know what those latent feelings 
of his were, which no man was ever acquainted with. Gen 1 
Cass I had form' 1 rather a good opinion of until since he 
came from France and has been in the Senate, he seems 
to be for War and Conquest of all North America, Texas, 
Oregon to 54.40 & Mexico the British dominions. I 
think he will be a dangerous Pres 1 if elected (I fear he 
may be), to be consistent he must carry out his views ex- 
press d so often the last few years. I am told too he is a 
selfish rascal, having by his position and management pos¬ 
sess 11 himself of much of our new lands of the greatest value, 
his acquaintance with civil matters and life is much greater 
than Gen 1 Taylors, & he is a man of more talent than Polk 
or John Tyler. 

I am too old to embark in politics. A man who 
is about to leave the world should loose the liga¬ 
ments which bind him to it. You are young & if 






you have health, ought in any small way you are able, 
if it be but slight, to do your Country Service; honestly, let 
what will, happen, & though you see ever so many from 
selfish motives sustaining the Cause of dishonour let it 
not influence you. The (Latin for clear conscience) will 
ever be a sufficient satisfaction for disappointment, want 
of success want of office and a minority. The pages of 
History show us that the best men have not been always 
successful. A character like that of J n Jay in public life 
is worth more than any office in the gift of the people, but 
the temptation is so strong to be with the Majority that 
many of our young men seek not what is right but the place 
where they suppose the spoils will be kept. The Old Fed¬ 
eral Party is now a name for all things wrong in politics, 
but it was the only honest party I ever knew. Men then 
liv d who lov d , as Lord Mansfield said of himself, that 
popularity which follow d not that which was run after. 
Such men as Oliver Ellsworth, Roger Griswold, Chauncey 
Goodrich, Frederick Wolcott, Grandfather Edmond &c, 
have pass' 1 away with their white topp d boots white stock¬ 
ings & small cloathes. The only remaining specimen I 
know of is David Daggett of New Haven. His mental 
powers are gone, but to see one of those men, as I have, 
who once knew them, is worth a long pilgrimage. The men 
who established our Independance and assisted in the forma¬ 
tion of our Constitution were finally outvoted by those who 
oppos d the latter measures, and nobly gave up the work 
of their hands (by which we now live & breathe & have 
our being) to unworthy successors. I have said much of 
little value, on a subject which occupies little of my at¬ 
tention. I am happy that the weather is better for your 
Mothers ride in an open waggon than I anticipated, it is 
now 12 & has rain d very little. 


H Curtis 


iuov not lolled si idiijcsw orfi icrij m& * .noijmi 

[I 84 S] 

Monday, November 6. Just before leaving for 
Albany, I received a letter from my Father announc¬ 
ing the death of our old and much valued friend Mr. Bel¬ 
lamy, the last of a name of a good English stock. He was 
at college with my Father, and for almost forty years they 
have been in practice at the bar in the same county. He 
was a high minded, upright man, and possessed the esteem 
and confidence of all who knew him. 

Friday, November io. General Taylor is chosen Presi¬ 
dent, by one of those vast majorities, that show that he is 
the choice of the nation, and not of a party. I voted for 
the nomination of the Barnburners,* but am content with 
the result of the present election; though I should much 
have preferred to have seen the presidential office filled by 
a man pledged to oppose the passage of slavery across the 
Rio Grande. This is almost the first election in which I 
have taken interest, and I believe I am at heart more. 

(Excerpts from letter of Holbrook Curtis) 

Watertown Friday 10 th Nov r 1848 

Dear William. 

I regret you suffer the small cares of business so to prey 

upon your sensitive system, but I know what it is, & how 

foolish it is although I was the victim of it the greater part 

of my life, & probably might have been wealthy & better 

known had I not been so great a fool, as to avoid business, 

to free mvself from more serious cares, but a vounc: lawver, 

must ever look to the good time coming. Your political 

debut, if you were looking for office, was not remarkably 

opportune. However I suppose you are not so strongly 

committed but that you can hurrah for Taylor, I think if 

I have no extra expenses, I shall be able to live hereafter 

for about $800 per annum. It will probably cost you as 
i / 

•The Barn Burners followed Van Buren. a split in the Democratic party 
who were willing, like the Dutchman who burned his barn, to lose everything 
if they could not gain their point — the right of new States and territories to de¬ 
cide for themselves on questions of slavery etc 







[/* 48 ] 

much as that, which here would be a large sum to raise 
from business. I suppose when you get all your business 
in full sail under the new Code, it will do itself. As I have 
the impression it was establish" 1 to enable every man to be 
his own lawyer, and it would be a pity if regular built 
lawyers could not get along with it, as well as Tailors 5 c 
Blacksmiths. It has ever been a great ambition to settle 
the troubles 5 c controversies of life with-out the aid of law¬ 
yers, but little progress has ever been made. Your new 
system I know not much of, you require the Testimony in 
a Chancery case to be taken w* writing. 

I wish you would see when my paper runs out & renew 
it paying them the $5, which I will remit to you as well 
as money for envelopes if you send some. 

Greelv on the whole has considerable talent, though too 
much an Agrarian. I intend if the weather be warmer to 
go to Bethlehem tomorrow. It may perhaps if you should 
live any number of years be fortunate that you learnt some¬ 
thing of the old English Practice as I think those who come 
after cannot know much of it, and it may be necessarv some- 
times to have something to fall back upon. . . . give 

my regards to all relatives and inquiring friends, particu¬ 
larly remember me to my Dear little Charlotte McLean 5 c 
her husband as well as to Charles Chapman as there are 
few relics of our family. I hope you may be useful to him, 
remembering that as his Senior he has a right to look to 
you for Examples of prudent correct & dignified Conduct 
5 c manners, as well as for additional information 5 c improve¬ 
ment . 

Watertown Sabbath Afternoon Nov r 29th /q8 

. . . . Old M r Bacon 5 c his wife are worth $200,000., 

have no child but Frank and a grand child living who 
represents a deceas d son. if the old gentleman calls on you 
be sure always to treat him with some civility. The old 
Aristocracy of Connecticut are pass d away, some slight 



- - r 

iqmi 36 rohiUD u a ' ru ibb£ ic ir II yu efi fiisnatm 28 

•*3T AW 

‘ -.1 


mementos remain in some of our older men, and however 
much we may talk of Democracy there was an elevation of 
soul about that class of men not found in our degenerate 

day s. * • • . . 

Watertown Sunday 3 d Dec r /q8 

.M” Mallery returned from N York where she 

had been a few days something like a week since, she con¬ 
firm* 1 what I had before heard in two or three instances, 
that I was about to have a daughter in law. After a repeti¬ 
tion of the story several times M r Goodwin mention 11 it to 
me at Litchfield last Court, 1 succeeded in having him fix 
the Venue, which I had not before enquir* 1 about, he said it 
was down in Washington Street H d & gave me a name 
which began with E the same given by M rs M. Although 
there is coincidence, I somehow gave not the slightest credit 
to the story, and should not have repeated it, but that I have 
generally found the young of both sexes are somewhat vain 
of being talk d of on such subjects, perhaps it is well how¬ 
ever for men not to be very assiduous in visiting families 
where there are young ladies, if they have no view of the 
kind, for the female market is not as good as it formerly 
was, and I have within the last few years known two or 
three instances of a family implying a contract on very 
slight circumstances, perhaps not an advantage for a poor 
young lawyer, who had only his briefs to rely on for main¬ 
tenance. You appear to be having something to do most of 
the time, and that is what keeps one up to the law, since I 
have been on the Court, I have refus d business in this vicin¬ 
ity which might by any possibility come before me, and in¬ 
deed business was always more tedious to me if of a critical 
nature than it ought to have been. I have no doubt if I had 
given up amusements, work 11 hard, & gone where business 
was to be done, I might have earn d some reputation as well 
as money. I try some cases now as Auditor & Arbitrator, 
make and record a few deeds, and am persuaded that if I 






3 vcd I tfirfl Jud ,)i balfiaqai svcd ion bluodi bnr. ,V'oJ2 odJ oJ 

; n i ,,d ji m! ” mw ; j > ,1 Bit ‘iww qu navig 

[1848 and 1849 ] 

had not taken the office of Judge, I might now do a business 
worth more than my salary. There are three requisites to 
make a lawyer rich, business, the art of collecting ones dues, 
& economy, if I had liv d on as little as many of my brethren 
have I might have sav d a tolerable estate only in that 
way ...... 


P* We now have a mail from N Y k every day, so put your 
letter in without regard to Day. 

Litchfield Dec r 19th, 1848. 

Dear William, 

I came to Litchfield this afternoon, where I shall be 
engag’d two weeks, may adjourn over Christmas, at all 
events I shall be at home over the Sabbath, and should 
be glad if you would come home if convenient. John 
Buckingham told me that Chloe Beach was coming up 
on Saturday before C r , on the N Y k & N H n Rail Road 
so I suppose it is expected to be done by that time. 

There is a great rush to California. I think the gold 
will be variegated with Yellow fever or black vomit, & it 
may help some persons, will not however be as valuable 
as Iron would, as it is of small use in the arts, and merely 
enables its possessors to indulge in extravagances, which 
have ever had the tendency to effeminate & degrade Man¬ 
kind. Spain is an example. However, perhaps we should 
all be willing to accept a portion of it without the labour 
incident to the acquisition of it here. 

You are not yet old, I was almost 29 when first I was 
married, My first child would be 32 if now living. 
I was 35 when married to your Mother, and if you are old, 
what must I be? I feel gratified that you can earn your 
living, but should regret that by any overexertion you 
should injure y r health or improperly expose yourself, 
Mental & Physical labour properly divided prolong life, 
overaction at either end sometimes injures. 


[ 7 <?^] 

Letter from H. Curtis 

Watertown January 20th 1849 

You have found you can place some reliance on 
yourself, and I am sure none of the small incidents, in the 
shape of interruption of views, which more or less belong 
to the whole body of Mankind, will disturb you for a 
moment. I have repeatedly thought within a year, that I 
had express 43 a view or opinion on a certain occasion, which 
if carried out, might possibly be productive of anything 
but domestic enjoyment. There can be no Aristocracy in 
this country but that which belongs to mind & character, 
correct views & sentiments are of more consequence than 
anything else. In early life, I had strong feelings, consider¬ 
able Pride, and was somewhat punctilious, and have been 
twice at least (to say nothing of minor cases) plac d in situa¬ 
tions which at the time I consider 43 very trying, & from 
which I believe a portion of that worldly management, 
which I have ever despised, would for the time have reliev 43 
me. I have liv 43 long enough to thank God many times, for 
my escape from wretchedness, and have adopted the belief, 
that there is a good Angel or “ Divinity that shapes our 
Ends, rough hew them how we will,” and rescues us from 
many dangers into which we would otherwise unwittingly 
run. Men and women who are strong in themselves are 
proud of their strength, the weak and simple have family 
Pride & I have notic 43 that a family which has matur 43 is 
apt to retrograde, and that there is not as much confidence 
to be plac 43 in those who look back as in those who look 
forward .... 

Monday, January 22, 1849. I have today removed from 
Mr. Pelerin's. For nearly three years have I been domi¬ 
ciled there and when I find myself separated pour a jamais , 
it is with strong emotions. During those three years, I 
have both learned and lost. Miss Pelerin possesses great 
amiability and good sense, warmly attached to her, for she 
has ever shown me great kindness. Mais il me faut rester 






dans un Hotel Americain, et je suis loge a present a Judson's 

Note: This shows how he mastered French, Spanish and Italian. E.C.) 

Excerpt from Holbrook Curtis 

Watertown February 8 th 1849 

I sometimes feel apprehensions that I may go off some¬ 
what suddenly, within the last year Messrs J. H. Bellamy 
& Nath 1 P Perry Esq rs both of this County, each about a 
year younger than myself have died. I was intimate with 
both of them. I believe the only lawyer remaining at this 
bar older than myself is M r Sterling (6c he never attends 
another Court.) Phelps is a year younger and it was only 
yesterday or day before Doctor Linslcy, a man about my 
own age, sawing wood fell suddenly dead 6c never breath d 
again, at Middlcbury, where he liv d , so I feel that I ought 
to have my house ready, but our thoughts do not naturally 
stray from the things of Earth, while we remain on it, the 
death of an Individual makes little difference with the 
great world, we look at those who remain 6c forget those 

who are gone.I see your Legislature has 

made a Senator of M r Seward who seems to have strong 
friends 6c a strong opposition, however he has the Senate 
for 6 years. I hardly understand the Whig Principles in 
New York. It seems to me they outradical the Loco Focos. 
I don’t know that they have any Conservatism. I believe 
the principle is for each man to seize what he can 5 c run 
with it, and if the Paper which I have patroniz d for many 
years 6c still continue to do, speaks the sentiments of the 
great Whig Party in New York I like them a trifle less than 
any party I have ever known. The Whigs here when I was 
about 6c among folks, were a party in favour of enforcing 
the laws, securing to every one the enjoyment of private 
property 6c encouraging domestic industry, by guarding the 
rights and property of every individual whether rich or 
poor. I understand by the Tribune that we all ought to 


•• ’ t ■ ■ 1 : ; 

_/ o-iMV 


Judge Holbrook Curtis 




live in Common like the Nomadic Tribes & people, that 
Tenants ought to retain the lands leas d to them & pay no 
rents, that Capital & most other punishments ought to be 
abolish' 1 & Criminals reform d by Singing Songs to them. 
And then again you needed some legal Reform in your 
State particularly in your Chancery proceedings, but a 
Code to practice law by, that shall embrace all the necessary 
authorities, so that everybody can understand it, is an im¬ 
position & a fallacy. Our legislature for the last two or 
three years has been possess 11 by evil spirits. I presume 
in the spring, between Free Soil & disgust, the State will 
go over to Loco Focoism, unless the strength of the Incom¬ 
ing Administration shall prevent it, however I care little 
about the subject, believing the men who howl in the Politi¬ 
cal Arena all about equally corrupt .... 

It will probably take a trifle more than 4 
months to make a continuous Rail Road Route to Water- 
bury, when passing will be expeditious, and I hope you will 
come more frequently, and perhaps I shall go more fre¬ 
quently. I suppose you are all California in New York. 
I understand both the Goodwin boys have gone, sons of 
Oliver, people leave who have wives & families with an 
apparent impression that they shall come home rich. The 
reflection of the scourges of sickness, disorder & other trials 
to which they will be exposed leaves but a Melancholy 
Image of the Gold they will get. The numbers going will 
cause quite a depopulation of our Country, few will return 
& those probably broken down for life .... 

Watertown Thursday March 15 th 1849 

Dear William 

I have heard of McCauley’s England, and was thinking 
I must try to save enough some way to purchase it. M c . 
is a beautiful writer, my only objection to him has been 
that as an English Whig, I have thought heretofore he un¬ 
derrated & bespattered the establish' 1 Church, cry' 1 up the 



mfiilliV/ iboQ 

[ 1849 ] 

Puritans, and with Carlyle & others of a late period had 
attempted to falsify History for the purpose of damning 
the House of Stuart, the establish* 1 religion of England, 
& repealing the Curse which history has pronounc d upon 
Cromwell, as express* 1 by Pope. 

“ Or ravish d with the whistling of a name, 

See Cromwell damn d to everlasting fame.” 

But McCauley is getting older, and in his Parliamentary 
career shew d himself tolerant. I suppose since Scott’s 
death he is the best Prose writer in England (or rather 
Great Britain). In regard to y r office, I hope you 
are well accommodated. Mr M 11 is an old acquaintance 
& you may confide in him. I dislike ever to mention the 
name of a stranger disrespectfully, but the other person 
you named, whose initials are “ C G.” it may be I never 
heard of before, but there was a person of that name, 
who I have heard turn d out a rowdy, intemperate &c, 
may be this is not the person, perhaps if it is, I may 
have been misinform* 1 , or if true he may have reform* 1 . 
You doubtless know enough of human nature to use 
proper precaution in all cases. I thought I ought to 
mention it. 

Letter from William to Judge Holbrook Curtis asking 
advice. It shows the intimacy between father and son. 

No. 54 Wall St. March 20, 1849. 

Dear Father, 

I wish to trouble you on a matter of business. 

Jno. J. Livingston has just called upon me and has paid 
me a small fee, and says that in case I succeed they will 
pay me a thousand dollars. It is as follows: Mary his 
mother married in 1788 Mr. Livingston who was for some 
years a Colonel in the Revolution. He died about 1816. 
She then married Mr. Betts who died a few years since. 
Mrs. Betts now lies in a feeble state from paralysis, and 


Mi ,«,ci 


has been informed that nearly $6,000 pension money in the 
way of back dues has accrued to her. She may not live but a 
few days and they have been victimized by some person 
who has taken no steps in the matter. 

Now it is an unusual thing for a lawyer here to make 
application of this kind, and I am totally ignorant of the 
law and proceedings in such cases. 

Knowing that you have some experience I wish to ob¬ 
tain from you the following information 

Is Mrs. Betts under the late Act of Congress entitled 
to a Pension? What steps and what proof is necessary? 
Are there any directions in particular to be followed? 

Lastly, if she should succeed, can I by an Assignment 
or Power of Attorney, in some way secure my pay, as I 
know the nature of the beast too well not to be aware that 
he will pocket the funds when I have had the expense and 
trouble of procuring them. 

Please to favor me with whatever you may think proper 
in the way of information, for I am as ignorant as a Hotten¬ 
tot, which way to turn, and have known only enough to cul¬ 
tivate a proper opinion of my capacity, and name a modest 
sum for a recompense, as you percieve. 

It is late and with love to Mother I close hoping to hear 
by return mail. If you have printed instructions please 
send me the same. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Watertown March 30th 

Dear William 

I wrote you a letter inclosing some instructions as soon 
as I returned from New Preston, and put it in the mail 
Sabbath evening. I have never had just such a case as 
that of Mrs. Betts, I believe pensions were first granted 
by an Act of 1818, and I should suppose Mrs Betts if a 
widow of Livingston at that .time (if the necessary proof 


• “ ’ : S- '• - ; .., .• J< ' tl> 

1 * 849 ] 

could be obtained) would be entitled to a pension from that 
time until she married Betts, when I suppose it would cease. 
You probably now know the rules of evidence if you have 
rec d a circular applicable to such cases, as well as I do. 
I dont know whether you can obtain any evidence sufficient, 
if neither the Minister is living or the officer who per¬ 
formed the ceremony, and there is no record of any descrip¬ 
tion of any person who was at the wedding, why all you 
can do is to send her lettersteel, sworn to by her, and evi¬ 
dence of cohabitation as man 6c wife, and the Common 
fame 6c opinion of neighbors, that she was the wife, that 
they had children — 6c whether such evidence is sufficient 
I know not. You must show there is no other if you rely 
on that. 

I presume before this time you have rec d my other 
letter which told you all I knew in the premises and 
likewise told you I regretted you undertook it. Judge Jay 
of Bedford is a relation 6c she has some in New York, 
but they may or may not be able to give you information 
on the subject. It is frequently of late attended with 
trouble 6c expense to search the records of the place, 6c 
perhaps it may be in some old bible in- in trust. 


H. Curtis 

Saturday, March 31st. This is the first warm day of 
summer, that tells us the winter is gone. The Battery is 
fresh, and green, and the birds and the green leaves will 
soon make these brick walls fearfully irksome. I am at 
leisure for the most part this week, and I think my business 
prospects are not at present very promising. 

Letter from Holbrook Curtis — April 9, 1849 
Dear William: 

Tomorrow I go to Litchfield to hold my Court for 
April, two weeks. It has usually heretofore been but one 
week, but business has so accumulated, that we have agreed 




^ni^imoiq x i3V Jon ^lo^cjsoiq 

to make the April short session on two weeks. Our Legis- 
lature looks squally. I believe the Whigs have a majority 
in the Senate. It is doubtful about the House. The State 
Officers are elected by joint ballots, all the others by reso¬ 
lution, which must receive the support of a majority of 
each House, acting separately. Three or 5 or 6 months pay 
as a member of Congress will not indemnify a man for the 
loss of his practice as a lawyer, if he is doing much. When 
lost, he can never again recover it. Your grandfather Ed¬ 
mond served two terms in Congress. Left a good practice. 
And then when he could have been elected for years with¬ 
out a question, declined being a candidate and returned to 

Watertown, April 18, 1849 

(From Holbrook Curtis) 

Dear William. 

You will be apt to find information of the services of 
Mr. Livingston from the Jays, who I take it were related. 
That is I believe Judge Jay’s wife was Governor Living¬ 
ston’s sister. I may be mistaken. Their knowledge if they 
have any is traditionary, but I should think William Jay 
of Bedford, West Chester County, would be so much of a 
family historian that (if the relationship exists) if you 
were to address a letter of enquiry to him postpaid, stating 
your wishes he would know the fact and instruct you where 
you might find the necessary evidence. There are some 
of his sisters living in New York, on whom you might call. 
I should suppose if he had been an officer, they would 
know it from tradition and might tell you where you could 
find evidence of the fact.* I am glad you have not formed 
a partnership with the man of whom you speak. It might 
be advantageous, but for the most part that is a ship I 
never should wish to sail in. I can spend money enough 
on my own account and wish no partner to have the power 

*This case was satisfactorily concluded after trips to New Jersey and much 
delving into old records. 


t 1849] 

of helping me, and if I ever formed any company business 
I should wish it so that the one could not commit the other 
by writing the company name. The public usually say 
caution is greatly developed in my case. I however think 
perhaps you may have made a good arrangement, and 
without knowing anything on the subject, I thought you 
might find the office you just rented in some respect ob¬ 
jectionable. You do not say how your rooms are now as 
to ventilation, a matter of some consequence if you stay 
there in dog days. 

Friday, May 11, 1849. No. 5 Nassau St. 

Dear Parents, 

We had an affair last night here, which created some sen¬ 
sation, and the excitement continues today. You are 
doubtless informed of the difficulty between McCready and 
Forrest. Last evening some additional disturbance was 
anticipated, and very unwisely as I think, and contrary 
to the advice of the Chief of Police, it was determined to 
call out the 7th Regiment. The military force was paraded 
in various parts of the City during the latter part of the 
afternoon, and this feature had the effect of magnifying 
what would otherwise have been a comparatively trivial 
affair. Every one thought there would be some fun to use 
the phrase, and in consequence a vast body of spectators as¬ 
sembled. I had other engagements, but I think every 
person nearly at the Hotel went up. 

This dense crowd formed a cover in front of which a 
few men and a large number of boys shouted and threw 
stones at the theater and soldiers, and then escaped into the 
crowd of spectators when the Police sallied forth to arrest 

The military fired as I am informed without giving any 
notice, with murderous effect into the crowd, i9/20th of 
which was composed of spectators. A very respectable 
friend of mine who had just left the adjoining Church, 


11849 } 

told me that he considered the military force uncalled for, 
their presence only serving to attract a crowd, and promote 
irritation, and that their fire was given with no preliminary 
notice, and at a time when the police were present in great 
force. My own idea from what we can see in Paris and 
other cities where for fifty years mobs have been fired upon 
is, that it never cowes the mob so much as it hardens and 
brutalizes all classes. It has never been done in New York 
before. A charge with the bayonet, as was done in Montreal 
would have sufficed to have cleared the street. 

I saw this morning the sides of a house marked by 
ounce bullets in 8 places as if a pick axe had been struck 
upon it with some force, and three young men lying dead 
on the floor of a room at the Station House as they were 
picked up and carried in, their boots and clothes on and 
their faces and shirts marked with blood. One was shot 
with a musket ball through the breast, another through 
the throat and the other through the head, and they were 
placed in one corner as carelessly as so many dead dogs 
would have been. This much for the riot. 

I am quite well and I shall be able to come up the lat¬ 
ter part of next week with Mr. Scudder, but I think it 
very doubtful, still I may. I will write to you when I shall 

Yours Affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Tuesday, July 3, 1849. It is cool and delightful but 
the atmosphere is freighted with the cholera which is 
sweeping far and wide over the country. There were 108 
cases in this City reported yesterday and 39 deaths. Little 
fear seems to be manifested as yet. The Courts are doing 
but.a trifling amount of business, and no defaults are taken. 
In a few days the lawyers will say good-bye to these brick 

August 2. I left home in the morning and reached 
Hartford via Meriden at noon. Went to City Hotel. 


t 1849] 

Heard the Inaugural address of the new President John 
Williams* and was delighted. Dined with the Alumni, 
meeting of my class Clerc, Scott, Sanford, and my old chum 
Stone, and also Priest. I made some calls with Sanford. 
Took tea with him at Mrs. Chapman’s. Attended the 
Levee at the house of Pres. Williams, and made my head 
swim with occasional glances at the fair face and beautiful 
form of sweet Harriet, or as more familiarly termed Plal 
Brownell. In the evening I supped at the Lunch with 
many old friends at the anniversary supper of the I. K. A. 
and retired among the small hours of the morning to a 
sleepless bed. 

Wednesday, August 8, 1849. I have hardly seen my 
way as yet through the accumulated confusion of a fort¬ 
night’s absence. 1 have been to Jersey City and as the 
plank was hauled in I said farewell to my old friend Henry 
S. Sanford. Le Bon Dieu vous garde mon cher ami! C’est 
toujours ma Priere! 

Wednesday, August 15. Yesterday afternoon I attended 
at Trinity Church the funeral of Albert Gallatin. He had 
seen ninety winters, he had stood guard by the watchfires 
that ushered in the morning of our Republic, he had borne 
an honorable part in all the earlier administrations of the 
Government, and honored and respected by the people, he 
was carried down into the narrow house and laid by the 
side of her, the companion of his life who preceded him by 
a few days. Thus are the last of the Patres Venerabiles 
of the State falling from our midst. 

“ Iusum ac tenacem proposita virum 
Non civium ardor prava iuberitium 
Non vultus iustantis tyranni 
Mente quatit solida, neque Auster.” 

Friday, August 24, 1849. Saturday, last I went to Suf¬ 
folk County and passed Sunday and Monday very agree- 

•Later the Bishop of Connecticut. The handsomest old man I ever saw, a 
great friend of our family. 



•:! jos 'Hi rd >9 r ?n if; v.onoil bns ^nornrnr/oO 

t 1 h i vml :*» :< 


Elizabeth Payne Edmond 
(Mrs. Plolbrook Curtis) 



[ 7 ^ 9 ] 

ably at the house of Mr. Scudder. One fair nymph has 
left quite an impression upon my flinty heart. Since pen¬ 
ning the foregoing I have received a note to a picnic which 
I would be most happy to accept but I fear I must decline. 

I include this sort of thing which with Judge Holbrook Curtis’ letters form a 
*ort of link between Revolutionary days and the fifties —Much of William Curtis’ 
journal is dull but gives a picture of College, vacation at Watertown, and his 
professional start in New York. 

Excerpt from Holbrook Curtis’ letter. 

Yesterday was very hot & I thought of Cholera. I 
see considerable lamentation in Temperance Papers about 
the use of brandy for cholera Patients. My own opinion 
is that which I have deriv d from Doctor Elton that Spirit 
may benefit Persons (who do not use it in health), when 
sick or recovering from sickness, but I have heard him say 
that he always lost his Patients in fever who us d it constantly, 
or to use his own language “ kept full ” as he cannot 
stimulate them with anything, if fever is off, when they 
are sick. On the whole, Men should use good sense on all 
occasions, be prudent, the slave of no habit in eating drink¬ 
ing or gambling &c or anything else. I smoke Segars 
some times and sometimes forbear doing it, being doubtful 
whether it is useful or hurtful, have a strong appetite, and 
eat sometimes more than I ought, which is the only habit 
to which I am at all enslav d . I can smoke or let it alone. 
I was born train' 1 and season d in the midst of brandy rum 
winkum, Porter & current wine, never lov d it, or even the 
effect of it, and now perfectly hate it all or what I have 
seen of its desolation. My mother (Esther Holbrook) had 
5 or 6 fine brothers, who were ruined by it, Cardplaying. 
My Grandfather gave most of his estate to his boys on his 
side, it did them no good. My father did not receive from 
his father half as much as Uncle Abel, the sons of the lat¬ 
ter who are living, are Nobody, or drunkards, or gamblers 
or both. I earnt only enough to live, until within 2 or 3 
Years, I said “ go to, I will be wise,” and have sav d some¬ 
thing, and if I had my strength continued long enough, 


[ ,1 (ski idloi io< t< ' vj ijornvl-i .noils ! 

• uv IqbvO A ,l» -<d banioi oio w ori v ,mri) na 5n,! ; > k> >. 



might lay up, which I find consists alone in saving. I was 
educated suitably to make a gambler & drunkard as I was 
surrounded by folks that turn d out such all the early part 
of my life, but I never lost or gain 3 a Penny by any game 
of Chance, and could not play a decent hand of Cards any 
day of my life. I believe it may be a spirit of opposition 
in me, but if I find a young man inclin d to either of those 
vices, the spirit of repugnance in me amounts to Hatred, 
although it be a man with whom I am scarce acquainted. 
The result of all is that My Grandfather Holbrook (Cap¬ 
tain John Holbrook of Derby, Connecticut), though rich, 
gave his estate principally to his boys. My Mother one 
of 12 Children rec d but a few hundred dollars, although 
the boys rec d enough in those days to make them what was 
call d rich. (Esther Holbrook was left the property at 
Oyster Bay which my grandfather never tried to claim). 
My father rec d less than he ought to have done from his 
father, added something, lost by Isaac Tomlinson (his son- 
in-law) a large sum. I T n was an amiable inefficient 
man, broke down in early life, and here am I about to 
render an account of my stewardship, Not very flattering 
to me. I have just sav d what I've had, while if it had not 
been for my early detestation of all Rowdyism, you would 
have been born an heir to rags & loaferism, for no man 
who was ever born had better opportunity to improve his 
education in the science that leads to loaferism. My mother 
was a good woman of strong sensibility & piety. My 
father had good natural sense, honourable feelings was 
pious in his feelings & intentions, but like most of the name 
when we were born had very excitable feelings, which 
sometimes ran bevond his control. I do not think as a 


general rule, it is fortunate to be very sensitive. My 
Mother was easily mov d to tears, she was hospitable, kind 
to the poor & distress 3 , that same morbid sensibility kept 
me from doing any thing the early part of my life. I ob- 
serv d the same deep feelings in Henry. I think you are 


1 * 849 ] 

free from it, an advantage so far as business is concern d . 
I ought perhaps to have said My father & both Grand¬ 
fathers attended family Prayers always on the Sabbath, par¬ 
tially on Week days. My Grandfather Holbrook was a Whig 
6c a Churchman, such a case was unusual at the North, & 
he became so indignant because his Minister, D r Mansfield, 
sympathyzed with the English that he turned Presbyterian, 
all my Relatives were Churchmen with the exception of 
this aberration. My father us d to pettifog cases sometimes, 
was a ready 6c fluent speaker, lov d to read, and was unpopu¬ 
lar with the mob & irreligious. I thought I would some¬ 
time say something of my progenitors, as tradition is all 
the knowledge we have on such subjects. No person knows 
his duty to parents until he has children. 


H Curtis 

Letter from H. Curtis. 

Watertown Sept 23 d 1849 Sunday 

Dear William, 

I have had an unusual amount of leisure this summer 
until the last 2 weeks, when I have been very constantly 
engaged. You live in a great City where there is much sin 6c 
wickedness, to which I hope the foundation has been so 
well laid you will not be expos d , 6c will be proof against 
the temptation. I have had many friends much more suc¬ 
cessful than Myself in accumulating property, who will 
leave it to those who will soon suqander it. The Tal- 
mages 6c Governor Wolcott of Litchfield had much better 
have left $100 apiece to their sons than what they did. San¬ 
ford was engaged for Blakeslce in this Town Case, he was 
formerly a Partner with Mr. B of Litchfield, and has a 
son Sophomore year at Yale College. He was speaking of his 
solicitude and the little expectation of Men for educated 
children, from the Numerous Cases in this County where 
such have turn d out Rowdies and drunkards. He said Mr. 



B — by his perseverence & industry had accumulated over 
$100,000, 6c that what should be left to his sons would not 
last 5 years. It is the remark of Prince Eugene in his 
Memoirs, that “ I have had very little time to sin in this 
world, and perhaps constant employment is as certain an 
antidote to an irregular life, as any there is.” Yet the legal 
profession has tendencies, particularly with advocates, 
which it is necessary strongly to resist, not to become dis¬ 
agreeable 6c unbearable. I have noticed it in others as 
well as myself, who am less expos d than most of my pro¬ 
fession, the constant collision of mind to which the profes¬ 
sion is subject exposes them to become disagreeable, cynical 
6c repulsive. Now as you are but young, by close attention 
6c management, you can control any such habit, if you see 
it growing upon yourself. I think you may be constitution¬ 
ally somewhat punctilious and particular — but there is 
No habit or tendency a man may not govern. I am getting 
old 6c must of necessity soon leave. I see so much of death 
around me, that I ought any day to be prepar d for his Ap¬ 
proach, the young may die soon, the old must. Your Mother 
is of frail constitution but may by many years survive Me, 
if in such an event you should be living, she will for care 
be entirely dependent on you. Patience, forbearance 6c 
kindness to old, feeble people is necessary to make them 
comfortable. I wish therefore you would train yourself 
as much as you can to be agreeable in such cases. It is not 
expected such people in their conversation or intercourse 
will be concise and exact as special pleaders. And if you 
can gratify their curiosity by answering any enquiries they 
may make at full length even — though they may not ap¬ 
pear to have any Interest in the subject Matter you will 
increase their happiness at a slight inconvenience, and it 
may be necessary to overlook what is defection or amiss 
in Men. My reason for making these remarks is I thought 
the 2 or 3 last times you had been home I discovered a 
somewhat alter d manner on your part, which might need 


iftluobifiq ,23i I 

nfiD l/O^ f }um 2£ 

t 1849] 

some guard, & that I might never have the opportunity 
of giving the caution, & it is not from any love of sermon¬ 
izing I put such things in a letter . . . But I have 

long been convinc d that a small amount of Talent may suc¬ 
ceed in almost anything. Truman Smith is certainly not 
a very great man. Perseverence with No great degree of 
scrupulousness, are his prominent qualities, yet I perceive 
he fills a large space in the public walk. Mrs. Tomlinson 
came to our house a week ago last Tuesday. I have been 
so much engaged I have hardly seen her. She & your 
Mother are at Church, & of course do not know I am writ¬ 

Affectionately & C 

Journal W. E. C. 

Saturday, September 29th, 1849. This day marks me 
twenty-six years old. I am humbled, and I despise myself 
when I see how much I can achieve and the utter nothing¬ 
ness of that which I have accomplished. Hope and Am¬ 
bition gild the future before me, but each birthday when 
I look back tells me how cowardly I am, how enslaved by 
passions, how retrograde in life’s journey of progress. 

The past has been a bitter year, the sweetest dream of 
rny life has forever vanished, nor hope, nor aught was left 
to console me, or mitigate the sorrow. I cowed in despair 
to my misfortune, and threw myself recklessly into the 
tumult of all that could distract weary and wretched 
thoughts. But I this day sternly swear to abandon the past 
and to toil and conquer for the future. 

Thursday, October 25, 1849. I have passed most of 
the last fortnight at Watertown, having made two visits 
there on account of my Father’s severe illness. 

Wednesday, November 7. The City and probably the 
State have gone for the Whigs. I voted the Democratic 




[1849 and 1850'] 

ticket. The weather is foggy and disagreeable, and busi¬ 
ness dull. 

Monday, November 19. I am reading with great de¬ 
light Chateaubriand “ Memoirs D'Outre Tombe.” 

January 2, 1850. Half frozen by the severe cold, I 
yesterday rode about all day and called on my friends, and 
today find myself, exhausted by the exposure, and almost 
incompetent to write in my journal. Ten years since I 
commenced this journal with Henry S. Sanford, who sent 
me by the steamer a note with his New Year's compliments. 
He is now Secretary of Legation at Paris and I, I am go¬ 
ing tomorrow morning to try a cause at the Kings Co. Cir¬ 
cuit. I am too far gone with the misery of yesterday's 
fatigue and dissipation to read over the papers tonight. 
Au Revoir. 

Saturday, Jan. 18th. I am occupied with old business, 
very few new suits brought. Tonight we have a ball at 
the Hotel given by those of us who board there. The 
Misses Mills’ of 12th Street have promised me the pleasure 
of escorting them. I was last evening at a party given 
by Henry E. Davies, and am today miserable as I usually 
am after any little dissipation. 

Thursday, Jan. 24. I am busy, partly in arranging my 
business so I can leave for Washington on Saturday, and 
also in a little speculation in the purchase of some mort¬ 
gages. General Saltus died today at Judson Hotel, an 
eccentric bachelor whom I shall never forget. A Falstaff 
in life and morals, he died after a brief illness, with three 
score years and more upon him babbling of green fields 
and murmuring “ God, God, God.” I shall never forget 
the contrast either, between last Friday night when, after 
the small hours had more than commenced, he prome- 
narded the ball-room upon my arm, keeping time with 
the music, strutting as usual, with a smile upon his face, and 
his white head pressed back upon his shoulders, and then 
this morning, insensible, haggard, groaning with every 



rtiifi tuqu norn bnE aic'jy diode 

0 * 50 ] 

respiration, his beard grown, and no weeping eyes around 
him, whilst he painfully surrendered that life which he 
has so often told me would last to a hundred years, that 
his father died by accident at eighty-eight. “Alas, poor 

Journey to Washington. 

Friday, January 25th, 1850. I left New York at half 
past four p. m. and reached the United States Hotel in 
Philadelphia about ten o’clock of the same evening. The 
brilliant light of the full moon rendered the journey pleasant 
and enabled me to form some conceptions of the character of 
the country through which I was travelling. Miss — was 
seated at my side, and if she had possessed a little more 
beauty or a little more spirit, we could have commenced 
rather a romantic flirtation. 

Saturday, Jan. 26th. After rather an uncomfortable 
night’s rest, I found myself in the Baltimore cars early in 
the morning, dragging slowly through the quite tame, and 
to my taste uninteresting and cheaply constructed streets of 
Philadelphia. I was very favorably impressed with the 
character of country through Pennsylvania and Delaware, 
and for some distance into Maryland. The negroes, the 
sixty acre wheat and corn field, and the ploughing of the 
fields during this, with us, inclement month, told me that I 
was in another latitude, and in a slave-holding state. 

1 reached Baltimore about 2 p. m., dined, walked out 
to the Washington monument, and visited the cathedral, 
and just at night left for Washington. Baltimore as well 
as Philadelphia, seem small and meanly constructed cities 
as compared with New York. The streets about the docks 
were lined with clusters of ragged, dirty negroes, but the 
upper part of the town is well-built and agreeable. 

I stopped at Coleman’s National Hotel in Washington 
and with my friend, Mr. Shelton, of Derby, Conn., was 
put in a damp basement room of the court, or rather a 




ground room, which was heated to about 130 by a coal 
stove, while the temperature without was about 68, and 
I had a most wretched and uncomfortable night's attempt 
at rest. 

Sunday, Jan. 27. This morning as I passed through the 
corridor to breakfast, I met a tall, thin, elderly gentleman 
dressed in black, his vest buttoned to his chin, and a gold 
chain passing about his neck, and over each side of his vest 
to his waistcoat pocket, and with long white, or nearly 
white hair. I looked at the face,— I had never seen the 
original before — but I had seen the marked features so 
often portrayed in every variety of style and position that 
I could not mistake it. It was Henry Clay, the idol of so 
many honest men, and the pride of his countrymen. He had 
a beautiful woman on each side of him, and as I passed he 
wished me a good morning, for every body here knows Mr. 
Clay and when met in the house he conceives that he might 
cut some modest friend if he passed any persons as stran¬ 
gers. After breakfast Mr. Shelton and myself attended the 
Ep iscopal Church. Casting my eyes back I saw another 
person, whose face I had never seen, but whose features 
were familiar. I recognized the short, stout, erect, iron- 
grey headed, hawk-eyed, big nosed man, dressed in dark 
blue buttoned to the chin, with a military look and posture 
of the shoulders, General Taylor, the President. He used 
no book in his devotions, but seemed contented and com¬ 
fortable, with Mrs. Bliss at his side. After church, his 
daughter took his arm and with great republican sim¬ 
plicity walked home, as I did, while some others went in 
carriages and liveries. The day was excessively warm and 
to escape the heat of the sun we sought the shaded sides 
of the streets. We strolled about Washington and the 
grounds of the Capitol, already assuming the green hue of 
summer. / 

In the evening with Miss S. on my arm I went to the 
same church but it was closed, and then we walked back 




by a glorious moon, but it was all in vain. No romance 
pour nous deux. 

Monday, Jan. 28. In company with Mr. Shelton and 
Senator Baldwin of Connecticut I called on the President. 
He received us with the most cordial simplicity, and favor¬ 
ably impressed me as to his good-sense and his judgment 
concerning men, things and politicians. 

I visited the Patent Office, and saw the camp sword 
and uniforms of General Washington, then the Senate 
Chamber. After I had entered the ladies’ gallery I looked 
down upon the galaxy of Statesmen that are now assembled 
there. The men with whose names I have been so familiar 
since child-hood, and whose long speeches read aloud by 
my father in the newspapers, during the winter evenings, 
have so often hushed me and my dog to sleep as we were 
stretched out together on the carpet before the bright wood 
fire. Ah, ces beaux jours sont passes. I saw Clay, Cass, 
Benton, Webster, Davis, Berrien, and a host of others. Mr. 
Calhoun was sick, and I did not have the pleasure of see¬ 
ing him. 

During the evening I went to a reception at Mrs. Col- 
lamers the wife of the Postmaster General. Miss S. on 
my arm, and mama watching us. Pas de danger pour ton 
enfant. Mr. Bulwer, the British Minister, was present for 
a time, and a crowd of about three hundred, comprising 
some lions and lionesses, ladies consisting of mothers and 
daughters, and gentlemen for the most past old and M. C.s. 
There was no dancing and at 10 I went home and slept 

Tuesday, Jan. 29. After attending to some business in 
the morning I went to the Senate Chamber. The great 
questions agitated at present at Washington are the ad¬ 
mission of slavery and the Wilmot proviso. The members 
from the South are extremely excited and prophecy dis¬ 
union, bloodshed, etc. Even at Mr. Collamer’s last night 
Mr. Butler, the colleague of Mr. Calhoun, from South 


inscribin' airi bnc s*n-;2-booj gif! oJ «b acn bosgoiqrfr Y w « 

jj. r orlT ?1*Jrn*rtO Mr.nsS aril 03 Jffov; 1 gnmiom 3.!* 


Carolina, seemed half deranged on the subject, and begged 
some of the Northern ladies to endeavor to open the eyes 
of their male accompaniments, and exert themselves to a 
struggle to avert the dire and near catastrophe. 

Mr. Clay, whose genius, and whose personal influence 
have so often enabled him to safely steer the ship of state 
through breakers on every side has been looked to by the 
men of all parties as the great pilot after God in this 
emergency. He has been preparing a compromise, and 
today when I visited the Senate Chamber my steps outside 
of the gallery were arrested by the sound through the closed 
approach to the gallery, of a clear and heavy voice that 
seemed to pass through the walls and doors, as if no such 
slight obstacles could impede its volume and cadence. I 
secured a place inside, and this was Henry Clay, who, an 
old man, with more than three score and ten upon his 
bleached head and unbroken form, stood with the eyes and 
attention of every Senator and every spectator riveted upon 
him, speaking in support of the Compromise Resolutions 
which he had just submitted to the Senate. Vehement, 
full of action, figurative, with his eye and countenance 
glistening with an almost supernatural look, I saw my full 
conception of what a great popular orator, of what a De¬ 
mosthenes or a Mirabeau must have been. I listened for 
two or three hours with great attention. I saw him intro¬ 
duce a piece of the coffin of Washington, I heard his beauti¬ 
ful apostrophe and then when he defined his position on 
these momentous questions, I joined in the involuntary out¬ 
break of applause from the galleries. 

Cass, Jeff. Davis, Foote, Mason and many others fol¬ 
lowed. During the evening I called on Mr. Inge and Mr. * 
Harris of Alabama to whom I had letters of introduction, 

was very cordially received. 

* / 

Wednesday, Jan. 30. I was this morning on motion of 
the Hon. Mr. Inge, introduced and admitted Attorney and 
Counsellor of the Supreme Court of the United States, and 


* jV \] 

bn£ orlqomoqB ful 
men 1 sguElqqs lo 

;o I gniriDV3 srii £nhurCI 

17 * 50 ] 

I lingered some time in the court-room listening to the 
arguments of a cause in which Mr. Webster and Mr. Bald¬ 
win were employed. 1 strolled into the library which 
seemed to me to be quite an insignificant affair, compared 
to what the Government ought to possess, and after that 
passed a most agreeable hour in the examination of the 
paintings which surround the Rotunda. From this place 
I found my way to the summit of the dome, and enjoyed for 
a very long time the view of the lovely valley of the Poto¬ 

Thursday, Jan. 31. A fresh, cold, windy morning. I 
walked to the landing of the Alexandria boats through the 
vacant squares of Washington, and soon found myself in 
the old and seemingly half deserted city of Alexandria. I 
procured a horse and hurried away through the mud, and 
streams in the direction of Mount Vernon, and after two 
hours riding over roads that had not been repaired since 
Gen. Washington’s death, and through woods, marshes and 
farms, without getting sight of a human being, I gave my¬ 
self up for lost and went hoping to find some house where 
I could obtain the information I needed. But all at once 
I emerged into six or seven hundred acres of cleared terri¬ 
tory, with a venerable old mansion showing its weather 
cock and chimneys in the distance. I galloped on and from 
a grinning negro boy who came towards me with a horse 
team floundering in the mud, I learned that this was Mount 
Vernon. I reached the house, passed a dilapidated con¬ 
servatory full of hogs, and. evidently used as a hog-pen, 
glanced around at the fast decaying specimens of ancient 
ease and wealth, and half dead and famished with cold, I 
went to one door of the venerable mansion and knocked, 
but no one came. I then walked around to a long piazza 
that faces the river, and here better success awaited me. I 
sent in my card and a servant showed me to two rooms, 
furnished with old fashioned furniture, mouldings and pic¬ 
tures, the same as in General Washington’s day. The serv- 


[ 18 so] 

ant pointed in the direction of the tomb, and I hastened to 
pay my homage to the ashes of the man. I recalled all that 
my grandfather had told me in childhood of his intercourse 
and of his affection and admiration for General Washing¬ 
ton, and breaking a twig from an evergreen near by as a 
souvenir of my pilgrimage, I mounted my horse, and with 
the close of this unpleasant January day I bid Adieu to 
Washington, tarried that night in Baltimore and the next 
day reached New York. 

Letter from Holbrook Curtis. 

Sunday, Feby. 3d 1 83a 

Dear William: 

I Rec d your letter from the Capitol, a place I have never 
seen, and so small a portion of life is left to me that I prob¬ 
ably never shall. I hope there is Patriotism enough left in 
the Country to induce our Rept. at Washington to preserve 
the Union. Mr. Clay has heretofore pursued a Conserva¬ 
tive course, as in the Case of the Missouri Compromise, 
and the South Carolina excitement, but the people at the 
South are at this time so violent and unreasonable, that they 
will compromise Nothing on Any such terms as are ra¬ 
tional. And our people at the North will not all of them 
readily be made Slave Catchers. I fear the folly and weak¬ 
ness of a few will be the Means of enciting a Civil War. 
The taking of Texas was a vile dishonest transaction, to sus¬ 
tain the Slave Institutions of the South. I believe that un¬ 
like Individual, National Sins are punished in this World, 
and that we shall have to do much Penance for the wrongs 
done to Mexico. 

I believe Mr. Mallery expects to leave Watertown with 
his family. I see the Scovils had form d a joint Stock Com¬ 
pany with a Capitol of $200,000, of which their Factnrys, 
In Watertown and Waterbury, dwelling Houses and other 
buildings, Machinery, Goods and so forth constitute $140,- 
000. Mr. Mallery, Eli Curtis, the Buckinghams and sev- 


^acnw ^rij icrt JDii£no * i\mm t b o) 3vtri ifcrla o// )i:rii bns 

.oDixsl/I ol 3fiob 

[** 50 ] 

eral others take the remainder, $60,000, Nothing venture 
Nothing have is the Maxim, but 1 confess I should hardly 
have been willing to take stock under the circumstances if 
it could have been given Me. The Real Estate and so forth 
turn d in at $140,000, with the power of Controlling the 
business entirely on the part of the Scovils. A reverse of 
times Makes the buildings worth Nothing when out of use, 
but Mr. M. and the others know much better about it than 
I do, and Mr. M. has made All the property he has, and I 
hope will Make More but I think it would have been safer 
to have been hir d As he has been heretofore, but he expects 
every thing will always continue as it Now is and I should 
be very unwilling to intimate to him that I think he has 
made a bad operation. I think the Scovils and Bucking¬ 
hams have Made a good one, As they get $60,000 Cash in 
the Concern, and it remains principally theirs. Please re¬ 
member Me with regard to my Relatives, friends and ac¬ 


H Curtis 

Watertown March 24 th 1850 Sunday 

Dear William. 

Yours of the 20 th ins 1 was duly rec d , I hope M rs Chap¬ 
man may recover, when Younger she was a beautiful woman, 
& has liv d to see Reverses of fortune very striking 
much as writers sneer at Mammon there cannot be a More 
Comfortless situation than to be in debt, to that circum¬ 
stance I thoroughly believe is to be attributed the death of 
Adams, by the hand of Colt, as well as that of Doctor Park- 
man. Bishop Griswold in early life preach d at Harwinton 
East Plymouth and Northfield, his whole Salary was $300 
per year, he had a family of I/f Children, Most of whom 
died of consumption after they had reached Maturity, but 
he would never be in debt,* he warns in his letters all Young 

•Perhaps some of the 14 might have lived had he borrowed a few cents. 



Clergymen against it, advises them to labour as he had done 
in the Summer & Keep school in the winter rather than be 
in such a state of dependence, says that by labour their con¬ 
stitutions will be improv d , their lives prolong 4 , their 
Mental as well as Physical powers improv d . He was dis¬ 
tinguished in Boston among the Great as a Man of Mind 
& Science. I hope Mr. P.f if he comes here, Will be a 
Man who has some Piety & some talent, it is poor encourage¬ 
ment to sit under One Who possess Neither. There came 
one fellow from East Plymouth to Query me (on Politics) 
with a view as I perceiv d to publish something to help John¬ 
son My Opponent. I told him freely that I thought there 
was very little difference between those who Manag d the 
Politics of our Country on either side, that they were the 
rough scuff and bobtail of the Country, & as much alike as 
rotten Apples. I suppose he will publish something in the 
L d Republican this Week for effect. If he tells truth I shall 
be satisfied, for I was as willing to salute the Managing 
Whigs with a Salute of a kick on the backside, as My Op¬ 


H Curtis 

March 2. I went to Connecticut and returned March 5. 

Monday, March 25. I have just read Shirley with much 
pleasure, have commenced reading La Nouvelle Heloise. 
Mrs. Chapman, the relict of the late Hon. Asa Chapman 
of Connecticut, died yesterday and I have just returned 
from her funeral. She was the widow of the gentleman 
with whom my father studied his profession, and is about 
the last of those persons in Newtown whose names in child¬ 
hood became familiar to me on account of their being so 
often mentioned by my parents. 

I am now lodging at Julien Hotel, a quiet French Es¬ 
tablishment, and arranged upon the European plan. But 
I breakfast and dine in the lower part of the city. This 

fThe clergyman. 


briM r n i/ c:> lu k> art* -snonc noV -A it. 

b :nmi ifui avrr 1 i> •{i; ..;3p.3v Laib , uraiJoanne \o 



C 1850] 

arrangement brings me nearer to Miss Scovill, with whom 
I believe I am having a serious flirtation. 

Thursday, Dec 12. 1850. Thanksgiving Day. I have 
now opened a new volume in my book of life. • I live no 
longer for myself alone. My word, my honor, all that is 
sacred and binding to me as a man and a gentleman, yes, 
and as a Christian, last night were pledged to a young, fair 
girl, lovely in soul and person, that at God’s altar I would 
make her mine, for better or for worse, and her vows to 
share my lot and portion in this world were tremblingly 
uttered, and henceforth I have a companion at the solitary 
hearthstone of my heart. Deus volens. 

I have but little to offer but myself, and told her so, 
but with the confiding trustfulness of her generous woman’s 
heart, she never thought of giving that a care. On this 
day of general Thanksgiving I thank Thee, my Heavenly 
Father, for many blessings, but above all I thank Thee for 
the pure, generous, devout young heart that in thy Provi¬ 
dence has become mine. May its every pulsation be happy, 
and for long years may I feel it beat against my own, and 
may all the blessings promised in this life, and in the world 
to come to the good and virtuous be our lot, granting us 
Thy sustaining Grace to be deserving thereof.* 

I hope the next Thanksgiving Day will find me 
a married man, enjoying the comforts of home and fireside, 
and that I shall thus quietly and pleasantly pass the merid¬ 
ian and close of life. I shall now consecrate my time and 
energies to put myself in a position to accomplish that 

*From reading my father’s and mother’s letters, they really seemed to be in 
love up to the day of my father’s death. 

They met at the house of General Thomas Davies while my mother was 
spending the winter with his brother Judge Henry E. Davies at 33 Clinton Place. 

She had a beautiful voice of such range that she sang all of Jenny Lind’s 
songs with ease and when I was a child I remember meeting an old gentleman 
who described how lovely she looked while singing and playing the guitar when 
she was seventeen. 

She had been educated at the Emma Willard School in Troy and told how 
the attic was filled with casts of the great Emma’s feet, which had been modelled 
while on the famous trip to Europe when she wrote “Rocked in the Cradle of 
the Deep.” 


(nor! // riliv/ x \Yrooifc uiV. o) tiiBan ini qiintf ma 

... ._r (,»> i'uHi 1 (tn uiS»« “ 

.HKJb XO » d3 01 q * ’ 

[iSjO and 18SI ] 

Monday, Dec. 23. I am far in arrears with my busi¬ 
ness, but I do not let it trouble me. I devote almost every 
evening to the society of the lady who promises me before 
another Christmas to be my own. 

New Year's, 1851. 

I made about fifty calls on my friends, riding about 
rapidly, dined at 6 p.m. and passed the evening at the side 
of Miss Scoville. I drank little or no wine. 

Jan. 26. Sunday. I have read nothing this week aside 
from law, and done nothing except suffer with a severe 
cold, attend to business, and go out every evening to parties. 
My devotion to the latter business is rapidly escaping. 
Thursday evening I was at a small, but very delightful 
party at the house of the late Attorney General, Mr. Jor¬ 
dan. Mr. Washington Irving had accepted an invitation, 
and was expected, but I was disappointed in not meeting 
him. N. P. Willis, Mr. James the novelist,* Mr. Van 
Beuren, Judges Betts, Campbell, Vanderpoel, Sanford and 
the venerable old Chief Justice Jones were present, and 
numbers of brilliant and talented gentlemen and ladies. 
The party was small, about 123 present. Mr. Willis had 
rather the appearance of the exquisite gentlemen of taste 
and leisure. His face indicates a close approximation to 
forty, and his hair waves in natural light brown curls over 
his forehead, but his conversation and address, etc. are all 
indicative of the simple, wellbred gentleman. Time, and 
care have changed his features very much from the hand¬ 
some young man that he appears to be in his engravings. 
His eyes and nose are not handsome, the former blue and 

Mr. James is a stout-built, healthy Englishman a few 
years older than Willis, but with a far better lease of life. 
Plis fresh florid face, with heavy, frosted mustache, and im¬ 
perial, wearing the look of one of the men at arms, or soli¬ 
tary horsemen, that he is so fond of portraying. Pie con¬ 
verses well, and is evidently conversant with elegant society. 

*G. P. R. James. 




William Edmond Curtis 



0 ^ 5 /] 

Prince John was the lion of the evening, with wit, genius, 
gallantry, and as splendid a form and head as that of Saul 
and towering far above six feet men, or rather dwarfs in 
comparison like myself, he shone the favorite of women, and 
envied by the men. 

Chief Justice Jones 84 or 85 years of age, with a clear 
head and bright eye walked the rooms, the centre of a group 
of professional men, and younger judges, who turn to him 
as an oracle. Night after night he goes to these parties, 
takes a Friar Tuck quantum sufficit of wine and eatables, 
etc. and humiliates young men like myself who are weak 
enough on half of his ration to complain of disagreeable 
feelings next day. 

But I was a looker-on in Venice, save when the bright 
eyes of my charming M. A. lured me to her side. But these 
are the last days of my dissipation; henceforth, and now 
“ Onward ” and the motto of my arms “ Sapere Aude ” 
rings in my ears. 

Sunday, Feb. 2, 1851. The weather has for the last 
three days been intensely cold, and today it has moderated 
into a violent snow storm. I have attended some parties, 
and declined others, my professional occupations not per¬ 
mitting me to waste any energies in dissipation, when the 
interests of my clients demand every exertion, and every 
moment of time in their behalf. Sunday comes a blessed 
day of rest and comfort. Would to Heaven this world was 
one Eternal Sabbath! 

Sunday, March 2. Blessed Sunday. Toil during the 
week days, and a chat every morning with my dear, darling 
Mary. God bless her and protect her. I am not good 
enough, devout enough, forbearing enough for so young 
and.fair a flower, but I will try to make her life pleasant. 
Who can read the future days? 

Thursday, March 1851. We are in the midst of paint 
and confusion at the office, and many disagreeable things 
incident to repairs. Business rules and absorbs every energy 


of mind and body, and I look back at the fast receding 
months in absolute dismay at the want of progress on my 
part in reading and literary pursuits. I am becoming lost 
in the devotion to business, and must endeavor to make an 
escape, for at least an hour or two every day. But soon I 
trust to have a home where I can pass many hours profit¬ 
ably that are now lost in the vortex of a bachelor’s cares 
and pleasure. Money and professional success do not con¬ 
stitute the great objects of human career and earthly avenir, 
but are the instruments that must be to some extent secured, 
to ensure ultimate success. Health and hope, and present 
success sustain me when I feel low-spirited, and every force 
of body and soul prostrated. 

Saturday, March 22. Tout va bien. I am doing well, 
and today I find myself in good spirits. 

Tuesday, April 1. I have worked harder during the 
past month and received more money than I have during 
any previous month of my professional career. I have 
been intensely mortified by the loss of several causes. Even 
pecuniary success is a poor alleviation to the pain produced 
by my sensitiveness on these points. I have run along regu¬ 
larly most of the common phases of a common-place exist¬ 
ence. My marriage yet remains to be looked forward to, 
but the daily nearer approach to that event already half un- 
ables me to realize it. But Alas! My hair is turning grey 
and I feel that the buoyancy of my youth is gradually sub¬ 
merging under the tide of many, many cares, and my un¬ 
fortunate deficiency of all power to drive cares away. 

Monday, April 21. Miss Scoville has been in the coun¬ 
try for the week past, and I am desole as a Frenchman would 
say; so accustomed had I become to her society every eve¬ 
ning that I have been almost at a loss to know what to do 
with myself. I have recently read the novel “ Mount Hope ” 
of my friend Hollister, The New Neva, and am now read¬ 
ing the Blouse of Seven Gables. I have been also hard at 


liliOW n ro or >' 7 / ■; i ’ T *' ; r> ; 3 >7/or; ’>1 v;i 

ob ol Jsrlw wood 0} 88ol s K J*omIfc overi tfid) §n n 

work, and now the rain having fallen for several days stead¬ 
ily, I am almost worn out. 

Thursday, May i, 1851. April 26 I went to Connecticut. 
On the 29th I officiated as groomsman at the marriage of 
Miss Alathea Scoville, and Mary Ann, her sister, was the 
bridesmaid. The whole affair passed pleasantly and hap¬ 
pily, and I returned with the happy pair to New York. In 
September I must figure as principal in a similar transac¬ 
tion. When I stood before the altar in the presence of 700 
persons, I began to realize its proximity. 

Friday, May 23, 1831. Last Saturday I went to Water- 
bury. Sunday I passed at home, on Monday I called for 
dear Mary, and drove her to Watertown and introduced her 
to my father and mother. We dined there, and after dinner 
the ladies and myself strolled through the fields, gathered 
wild flowers, and then we returned to Waterbury. The 
next evening I returned to New York. 

Wednesday, June n. I returned Monday evening from 
Waterbury where I went Friday p. m. The weather was 
stormy and chilling, but the presence of my dear little Mary 
made the visit delightful. 

Monday, June 16. I have been passing Sunday at 
Greenbank, near Elizabethtown, N. J., the seat of Henry 
E. Davies, Esq. Yesterday was one of those delightful June 
days that are made doubly attractive by being enjoyed in the 
fresh air and delicious shade of the country. J'espere vous 
voir demain soir, Chere petite Marie. 

Friday, June 20. The temperature of the air has been 
cool and delightful thus far most of the month of June. 
Last night I heard the opera of La Favorita sung at Castle 
Garden. Miss Scoville was there with me. I was delighted 
with the music et tout. Elle est allee ce matin a Connecti¬ 
cut avec son pere.* 

June 28th. The time seems now to be near at hand when 
I enter upon one of the great relations of life, and I should 


*My mother said that between the acts they walked in an open loggia over¬ 
looking the moon-lit bay. 


' : ' ' 





toil to prepare all things for the tranquil enjoyment of 
that new wine of life, that glitters so fair and bright in the 

Wednesday, July 8. 2 p. m. I have just returned from 
Waterbury where I have passed a week delightfully, and 
now to the oar in earnest. 

Wednesday, Aug. 20. I feel weary and worn out with 
cares and sleeplessness. I have among others, that of find¬ 
ing a boarding house for my future residence, a mode of 
living I utterly detest. I have sought in vain for something 
tolerable but have not yet found it. The days of my bach¬ 
elorship are drawing to a close. 

Aug. 26, 1851. Tuesday. I last evening returned from 
Waterbury with Mr. Scoville, where I had been very pleas¬ 
antly passing Sunday. The next visit and I shall return with 
the dear wife of my heart, and not alone as I have hereto¬ 
fore done shall I wander on through this journey of life. 
One week from this time, and I shall have arrived at the 
hour which, last December seemed so lost in the future, that 
I could not realize that it would ever arrive. The invita¬ 
tions are all out, and I have made most if not all of the usual 
preparations for decently interring my bachelor-hood. These 
are the last days of my liberty which I am impatient to see 
hasten away, so anxious am I to wear the silken fetters. 

Saturday, Aug. 30. This afternoon I leave for Con¬ 
necticut. Tuesday I am to be married. This is the last 
day I pass in New York before I enter the new and sacred 
relation of life, to which I approach as one of the great turn¬ 
ing points in my existence. I looked forward to college life, 
from that to admission to the bar, and now absorbed and 
wearied in the cares and duties of my profession, I look to 
this new existence, over which the last morning star of my 
life is dawning, the last in the horizon of youth, with cheer¬ 
ful remembrance of the sad and pleasant past. I take for 
my partner, one who is amiable, devout, and who loves me, 
and whom I love with all the deep affection and impulse 



of my nature. I trust to find her a solace and a blessing, to 
be hallowed by her better influences, to be made a holier 
man, and happier man, yet with it, I anticipate additional 
cares and griefs. God bless the sequel to me and mine. And 
here I must erect the gravestone of that single existence that 
has heretofore been mine. 

Wednesday, Sept io. On Saturday, the 30th I went to 
Waterbury. On Sunday morning I went to Watertown, 
from whence on Monday I returned to Waterbury. On 
Monday evening and Tuesday several of my friends and 
relatives arrived in Waterbury, and that evening in St. 
John’s Church by the Rev. J. L. Clarke I was united in 
marriage to Mary A. Scovill, daughter of Wm. H. Scovill, 
Esq. The Church was filled to suffocation, and after the 
ceremony the house of Mr. Scovill was filled by the numer¬ 
ous guests bidden to come to the wedding. The affair passed 
off finely. Dark clouds and a heavy rain gave place to a 
beautiful evening as the hour of the wedding approached. 
Charles R. Chapman, Henry J. Scudder and Thomas Pow¬ 
ers, Esquires, were my respective groomsmen. Wednes¬ 
day we went to Springfield, Mass., and on Thursday to Bos¬ 
ton. On Saturday we arrived at Portland, and leaving there 
on Monday arrived in New York via Stonington at 6 a. m. 
this morning. And now I am again as of old once more busy 
at the law, not for myself alone but also toiling for one dear¬ 
er than myself. Fatigue weighs heavy today, and I must close 
my book and hope soon to close my eyes in the sleep which 
the steam-whistle and confusion of the steamer last night 
prevented me from doing. I wrote for my journal the day 
I was married the following, which I now insert as a trace 
of my feelings and emotions at that time: 

12 M. Sept. 2, 1831. It is noon and raining fast. To¬ 
night I am to be married. The groomsmen are here 
and talking downstairs. The bridesmaids are here 
with their rich toilettes, which the rain will prevent 
them perhaps from wearing to Church. If it rains we 


yd rj.U iBmooi io* 3knw I .gaiob moii sm boinovoiq 


are to be married in the house. The event is at hand, 
the long expected, the long hoped for, that from child¬ 
hood has been visible at the extremity of the perspective 
of life. How many thoughts friends, feelings, and pas¬ 
sions have ripened since the dream of a wife, and a fair 
girl passed across my child-hood brain. And since that 
vision melted from my eyes, how strange and varied 
has been the experience that men designate life and 
time and years. I have lived years in weeks. This is 
a day to be remembered in the calendar of mv existence. 
I make solemn vows, God enable me to keep theml 
This is the last entry in the Book of My Solitary Exist¬ 

(Note by E. C.) 

The wedding was in the Church recently built upon the 
site of the one in which the Rev. James Scovil, my mother’s 
great grandfather, preached. The reception which followed 
the ceremony was in the white colonial house at the end of 
the green. The candle light and polished floors, the full 
skirts of the women, their low cut bodices with berthas and 
hanging curls, must have made a charming picture. My 
mother’s wedding gown was white figured silk and my 
father’s waistcoat and stock were of similar material. In the 
trunk containing her trousseau is a changeable yellow taf¬ 
feta, with which she wore a cerise camellia over each ear 
and for an extra wrap, a Chinese shawl brought on a sailing 
vessel as a wedding present. The bridesmaids were Louisa 
Davies, afterwards Mrs. Henry J. Scudder, Augusta Smith, 
the niece of my grandfather’s second wife who married Mr. 
George Bliss of New York and Miss Martha Kendrick of 
Waterbury. My mother’s sister Ruth Alathea had been 
married a short time before to Mr. Frederick J. Kings¬ 
bury. On their wedding journey to Boston and the White 
Mountains they were thrilled at meeting Daniel Webster 
and their letters are as happy and carefree as those of any 
bride and groom today. The year after their marriage 


.(jsiTsifetn i i.iin \i \o M3 r ioota bna lEOotaisY/ e'lariui 


Grandfather Scovill* bought and furnished for my mother 
the house at 98, or according to a later numbering 209, East 
15th Street, where most of the children were born. My 
mother had all the inspiration, sense of beauty and tempera¬ 
ment, but sacrificed everything to her husband and babies 
and gave up singing shortly after her marriage. AW of her 
letters and journals are full of notes about flannels, clothes, 
toys, books, etc. for all of us. She wrote to each of the ab¬ 
sent boys once a day; and Will, her first baby, after he grew 
up, wrote to her just as often to the end of her life. She 
records that when he was five years old he was asked if he 
wanted to go somewhere with his father and he answered 
“ I want to stay with my darling little mama ” — and now 
he is buried there beside her, at Watertown — 


Letter from Holbrook Curtis 

Watertown Sabbath morning Sept r 7 th /51 
My dear Children 

I hardly know in what terms or language to commence 
my address, Whether to say My dear Children or D r W m 6c 
Mary Ann, but no language can be stronger than my feel¬ 
ings, & no solicitude greater than that I feel for Your Ma¬ 
terial happiness health 6c enjoyment. 

I suppose, you W m , Will be rather constantly at Y r of¬ 
fice. Where you cannot Well take Mary Ann, so she Must 
when she has No Calls to make or take, write, play the Pi¬ 
ano, 6c do all other pleasant things, At all events contrive 
to prevent time from passing heavily. Maria is yet with 
us, I believe M rs McLean remain 13 a day or two at Water- 
bury 6c Went to Hartford, she call d here with her Mother 
I understood on Wednesday after I had gone to Litchfield 
but made no long stay. M r Chapman has been very con¬ 
stantly at Litchfield, I return in the Morning 


H. Curtis 

*My grandfather Scovill and his brother James founded the Scovill Manufacturing 
Co. in VVaterbtiry in 1810. a brass mill which during the late war was the only concern to 
produce material for the U. S. Gov. 100 per cent perfect. 



Postscript by Elizabeth Curtis 

We had a delightful ride after the wedding, all of us 
in excellent spirits. I have been better than usual since. Dr. 
Berry gave us two sermons. Mr. Reid read service. Mrs. 
Reid leaves tomorrow for New Haven. When shall you 
come here? Maria is staying with me. Mrs. Tomlinson 
left Friday morning. Wm. Armitage reminded me of his 
Father, who spent some years in Col. Starr’s family. I 
should like to become acquainted with him, his Mother was 
a very lovely Woman. He said Ellen was soon to be mar¬ 
ried to a Gentleman from Kingston, thought she would do 
well. It is not probable I shall ever again see so many of 
our friends together. Mr. and Mrs. Chapman, Mrs. Tom¬ 
linson & Wm. Booth were at my Wedding. Wm. however 
was not old enough to congratulate us. Miss Kendrick, and 
the other ladies, were quite charming. I can sympathize 
with Mary Ann in her leave-taking of her former friends, 
although it is so long since, those with whom we com¬ 
menced the journey of life can never be forgotten. New 
acquaintances like flowers will be springing up before you, 
some perhaps quite as evanescent, but it will be a long time 
before they will fill the place of those you have left. 

May the choicest of Heaven's blessings rest on you both, 
is the wish of your affectionate Mother 

E. Curtis 

It would give us pleasure to receive a line from either 
•of you. 

Saturday, Sept. 20, 1851. I am a married man and happy 
as such. What more can I add more expressive? True it 
adds to my cares, and anxieties for the present and future 
are increased, but with these come greater incentives to ac¬ 
tion. I hope to be a better and an abler man. I have led 
rather a leisurely life. Next week I shall commence work 
in good earnest. 




•C li no! s v.d iv )i t i n -miva a. a)iup :qj amo? 


Mary Ann Scovill 





• ~*r\ •H.'-'u* 


Monday, Sept. 29, 1851. I am twenty-eight years of 
age today. Since the last anniversary I have assumed the 
grave obligations of a husband and I trust that I have now 
buffeted the storms and the surges of youth, and that I shall 
henceforth safely in port, ride out tranquilly the remainder 
of life. I have to record besides my marriage, that I have 
toiled almost unremittingly at my profession the past year, 
and that I have secured I hope to myself, by the investment 
of my past labors, a modest income, which I shall endeavor 
to fortify and augment so as to secure a better provision for 
myself and mine than the precarious one of my profession. 

Excerpt from letter of H. Curtis. 

W m has been so long abroad & so seldom at home, that our 
Watertown folks have very little knowledge of him, but I 
have No doubt but, if I were living there Myself, that some 
of our Worthies with whom I have had very little intimacy, 
would come down to see the Lions,* & quarter themselves 
upon us, to save their fare, unless they could find gratui¬ 
tous keeping otherwhere. We are very prudent people here, 
who are very apt to call on friends where We can save or 
make something by it. 

I71 olden time hospitality was a very different thing from 
what it is with Moderns. I recollect the troops who us d 
to gather together at Thanksgiving & Christmas, Relatives, 
those who had been Domestics, & last of all the Negroes, 
for whose Society in the Cellar Kitchen when a Child I 
had a strong penchant, on such occasions were all seen at 
the Old Mansion House, full fed, happy, dance, sing & 

One of my grandfathers was a Whig (Holbrook), & the 
other a Tory (Curtis), the Whig deserted the Church, went 
to Congregationalism, & denounc d British Manufactures. 
We ate on Pewter plates. The negroes in the Cellar Kitch¬ 
en Were in point of law Slaves, but they seem d to My Child- 

*“ Lions ” is used all through this as we would use “ sights.” 




ish imagination the best, freest 6c most happy of beings, & 
to do them justice they Were the last of my old Childish 
Relatives who deserted me, As they us d to call occasionally 
up to 20 Years ago, 6c I still retain rather a regard for them, 
which I can not transfer to the Irish. My old Grandfather 
never adopted with his Change of Religion (he left the 
Episcopal Church at the Revolution) the ascetic Manners 
of his sect, but always enjoy d the happiness of others Wheth¬ 
er High or Low, Rich or Poor, White or Black; It seems to 
me the old hospitality of the Country is gone, or else I have 
grown old 6c have outliv d it. 

Have Y r people Come home yet? I wish to send some 
Articles We have of theirs. Come 6c see us if You Can 6c 
spend some time with us When you Come. I suppose W m 
does not like to be absent but by 6c by You Can endure sep¬ 
aration for a short time. Mother sends love to you both 


H Curtis 


I am sometimes troubled to make stamps stick. I always 
put one on, but I have known some instances where they 
have Not kept on. I suppose in all the Festivities of Thanks¬ 
giving, Christmas 6c New Years, You will Come up 6c if 
W m cannot come or stay perhaps he had best give you a 
Furlough of a few days. You might perhaps if Well 
enough have gone to the Ladies Convention at Worcester, 
& made a Speech, they have (some of them) apparently 
some Powers of Eloquence, 6c describe very feelingly the 
Tyranny to which they have been subjected by the Lords 
of Creation, but I doubt on the whole Whether it would 
Not be rather a dangerous experiment to mix up Men 6c 
Women in the primary Assemblies of the people, Political 
Meetings, or juries, in the Legislature 6c congress, 6c 
whether it would Not be More honour' 1 in the breach then 
the observance. It Might be very Safe for Most of the 
Ladies Assembled at Worcester, from the account I have 


. * 

* ■ 

l o 7 li i j U oh < 3 no i i JO 3ud t noit£3i 0 io 

[1851 and l8j2 ] 

heard of them, but the general adoption of such habits by 
them I should much fear would not be follow d by any pub¬ 
lic benefit. 


H C 

Journal W. E. C. 

Monday, Dec. 29. I have this morning returned from 
Connecticut after having made a most delightful visit to 
Waterbury and Watertown. 

New Year’s, 1852 

Made many visits, a charming day. Mrs. C. received 
calls in company with Miss Kendrick. I can hardly yet 
_ realize that I am no longer a waif and stray upon Life's 

Jan. 9, 1852. On the 7th, I signed an agreement with 
the Hon. Samuel A. Foot, late Chief Justice of the Court 
of Appeals, who is about to return to the bar, to conduct 
professional business jointly with him. My existing con¬ 
nexion not to be disturbed, and I am today looking out for 
a suite of offices. 

Friday, Jan. 30. We have contracted to buy No. 98 
East 15th Street for a residence, and tomorrow we are in¬ 
tending to make a visit over Sunday to Waterbury. Mary 
Ann will remain there for a few days. 

To Mrs. W. E. Curtis, 

% Holbrook Curtis, Esq., 

Watertown, Conn. 

Saturday, April 3, 1852. 

Dearest Mary, 

It is half past ten P. M. and I shall not tarry long at 
the inkhorn. I hope and pray that you safely arrived in 
Waterbury on Saturday, if you did not manage to reach 
there on Friday night, which I endeavor to believe you did, 
considering the favorable auspices under which you corn- 



[ 1852 ] 

menced your journey. I saw Mr. Lane as I was leaving the 
depot, the car in which you were seated had moved off, 
and I told him briefly where you were, and to keep a look 
out for you, which he promised to do. 

Mr. Waterman and myself finished Mr. Pickwick’s trial 
last night. Your Uncle Plenry called with the three boys,— 
Willy amused himself reading and the two elder refreshed 
themselves with a little of Tivoli on the Piano, bye the bye, 
a very convenient use to put the board, and though I felt 
apprehensive it might scratch the piano top some, I did not 
like to interfere with juvenile pursuits. This is written with 
the intention of bringing you back to look after the chattel, 
but I had not the hardness of heart to leave you with the 
supposition that the piano had fifteen or twenty large 
scratches upon it, and so I gave the explanation. 

Today I have pulled as usual at the oar, and having done 
my duty to men, women and children in the course of it, 
and having eaten one of kind natures solid restoring dinners, 
I betook myself to your Uncle Thomas’. I found he had 
just returned from Albany, half sick, having been anchored 
on a sand bar for five hours, and eaten steamboat husks for 
the balance of the twentv four. 

Mr. Foot has drafted a Bill, which embodies his project, 
and which, I really think has considerable merit, and with 
some amendments I hope it will pass. Your Uncle feels 
very confident that it will become a law. xMter playing two 
games of Dummy, we being the victors, and your presence 
much desired, especially by your dutiful husband, I de¬ 
camped for these quarters. I wish you were here, my darl¬ 
ing, but I am doing the next thing to seeing you here, which 
is writing to you. I have endeavored two or three times 
during the day to seize enough of Old Father Time’s prog¬ 
ress to write you a few words which though late I know you 
will esteem as better than none. So Good night, and God 
bless you, and pleasant dreams enchant you. Adieu Petite 


■ f'OijUoqqfJ-8 



Sunday A. M. Before Break}astl ! ! 

Mary* obeys orders admirably, so that I do not feel at 
all as Dives did, though the atmosphere is too inviting to 
keep me at home this morning. By the enclosed extract from 
Friday's Ev. Post, you will see that the Sequel to Thana- 
topsis is not written by Mr. Bryant. I thought the Sequel 
was too imitative of the original and that Mr. Bryant had 
forgotten his wonted modesty in commencing by talking 
about himself. Still it is better as an imitation than any 
of the Rejected addresses, and worth keeping. Mary has 
made her appearance to know if I wanted a fire. 

I shall take this down immediately after breakfast to 
the P. O. and trust to get a despatch announcing your safe 
arrival at the same time. Give my love to Father and. 
Mother, and don't “ play at meetin’ ” when you are at 
Watertown. I suppose tomorrow will decide the Election 
of Mr. Kingsbury. I hope he will succeed. Father used 
to be something of a politician, but of late years he has had 
so many cares, especially in the Spring of the year, that he 
has no leisure to do anything except discover much cor¬ 
ruption and baseness in old politicians. 

Hoping you are well, and with “ oceans ” of love to you 
my darling, and showers of kisses, I am yours most affec¬ 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Wednesday, June 30. I read today that Losee Van Nos¬ 
trand is dead. An old friend, one of my earliest in Brook¬ 
lyn, and the last of the types of our ancient Dutch popula¬ 
tion. I read that Henry Clay died yesterday. It is as if some¬ 
thing that bound me to the past was forever broken. From 
earliest childhood his name has been ever present in the 
public journals and Congressional Debates, and 1 have 
grown up and matured, hearing his name daily on men’s 
lips. Eloquent, patriotic, generous, brave to chivalry, the 

*The servant. 





[IS 52 ] 

the best loved man in the country, he has fallen on the field 
of his fame in the shadow of the Capitol, where his genius 
and his influence have so often served , if not saved our 

- July 3rd. Saturday, 4 1/2 p. m. The funeral cortege, 
with the corpse of Henry Clay has just passed under my 
office windows. I recognized the same uniforms that I 
saw on the troops that welcomed him to New York by this 
same route when he came here living; then I did not see 

Saturday, July 10. I have passed most of this week in 
attendance at Newburgh, at the general term of the Su¬ 
preme Court. Mr. Benjamin F. Butler was my opponent, 
who argued the cause in a very strong and ingenious man¬ 
ner, with what effect yet remains to be determined, for the 
Judges took the papers. When I heard Mr. Butler lecture 
upon the Constitution of the United States when I was in 
college, a notice of which I think was then made in this 
journal, I had an idea that I should some day suffer from 
him and I believe he has won the cause. 

To Mrs. Wm. E. Curtis, 

% Wm. H. Scovill, Esq., 

Waterbury, Conn. 

Saturday A. M., July 24, 1852. 

I send you dearest Molly my daily buletin of the state of 
matters here. I have received your note of yesterday and 
am glad to find you are convalescing. The weather has 
been very hot, but I waked up last night quite cool for the 
first time since my return. A sudden change of air has 
wrought a most remarkable variance in the temperature of 
the room. 

I am now at the office, and very much regret that I can¬ 
not come up to Waterbury this afternoon, as I may be 
obliged any moment by a telegraphic despatch to leave for 



orii lol ioo3 33iup jrfgrn <,u bsofcw • tud ,lorl (iov nood 

[1852 and 1853] 

I send Mr. K. a paper with a complimentary notice of 
Waterbury modes of doing business, under the police head. 

Last evening I went out for a walk, strolled down as far 
as Miss Vanderworts steps where the people were out cool¬ 
ing in the evening breeze. I believe you are kept well post¬ 
ed up, my dear, in all my doings. I hope to meet you soon. 
Give my love to Alla and Mr. K. and tell them I regret my 
inability to greet them in person tonight. 

Everybody is out of town, and I should find it very dull, 
if I were not kept very busy. I miss you exceedingly, my 
darling, but think you will be better off in the country than 
here. If you go up to Watertown next week, I am afraid 
you will be obliged to go without me. Hoping you are 
well and enjoying yourself, I am most affectionately yours, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

August, 1852. Mr . Butler did not win the cause . 

Tuesday, Nov. 2. I have this morning deposited my 
vote for Franklin Pierce for President and for the Demo¬ 
cratic ticket. Very little interest appears to be felt in the 
Election generally, and I think that General Scott will be 
defeated. My garden is as yet untouched by frost and 
winter has not as yet made its appearance. 

Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1852. I passed this 
anniversary at Watertown. 

Christmas 1852. On the 24th, I accompanied Mrs. C. 
to Waterbury from whence I returned on the 27th. We 
passed a pleasant and most agreeable Christmas. 

New Year’s 1853. This day I passed very pleasantly 
at Cerro Gordo, the country seat of Prof. C. Davies. This 
is the first New Year’s in New York that I have not made 
calls, but I required and preferred a little more recreation. 



• r -i. * • ■ > r v/ ^ ■ 

3 )r.m loo ov£il I )£rli jiioY 7/3 .-1 ni ■ i£3 t n^A. H"ft ‘>i!t <\ 

I \1853] 

March 29th 1853. 

To William E. Curtis Esq — 

106 Broadway 

Monday Evening. 

My dearest Husband, 

I sent you a letter this morning which I suppose will 
quietly rest down town in the Post Office tonight, and be 
fresh for your perusal tomorrow morning when you send 
for it. Mr. K. goes tomorrow morning and I cannot re¬ 
sist the temptation of writing a few words to my dearest. 
How are you getting on without me? You see I consider 
myself a very important personage. I know you will enjoy 
having Mr. Kingsbury there with you, but am rather afraid 
to trust two such wild chaps so long alone together. Will 
you not come up with him Saturday? If not, send some 
bannas in your place, just some sweets to console me. Alla 
I find as crazy on the subject of fruit as I am. We have 
already devoured a dozen of oranges and Mr. K. has 
brought us a dozen more. You know I always grow fat on 

Tell Ann where to have the grape vines and trees put 
out, as Father says it is so warm he thinks they will come 
this week. I hope you will remember to give Ann the other 
five dollars. 

I did not get a letter tonight but shall hope for one to¬ 
morrow. I have been rather conjuring that you must be 
sick, but you promised to send to me if you were, and you 
always keep your word. 

Good night my dearest love. Dream of me. I do of 
you. God bless you, my own. 

Your loving wife, 

M. A. Curtis. 

Thanksgiving Day. Thursday, November 24, 1853. I 
passed this occasion with Mrs. C. at the residence of her 


I . •' ; 

jiiv* anivol nuo V 

[1853 and i8 54~] 

Uncle, T. A. Davies.* The frost this day for the first time 
cut down all the green leaves of my little garden. 

Christmas 1853. Was passed most delightfully at Rose 
Hill. For many years I have not spent a more agreeable 
day. The next day I tried skating and found that ten years’ 
disuse of skates had not impaired my tastes or capacity for 
the amusement. 

New-Year’s, 1834. I was * n New York, and made sev¬ 
eral calls, and returned home, cold and weary, and so com¬ 
menced the New Year. 1853 forever numbered with the 
past has been a monotonous, prosperous, quiet year with 
me, and gone with few land marks to record its progress. 

Wednesday, April 12, 1854. The events of the past few 
days will remain for a long time impressed on my memory. 
On Monday the 27th, Mr. Wm. H. Scovill died at Charles¬ 
ton, S. C. On the 31st, I received the intelligence, and the 
next day his remains reached this City on their way to 
Waterbury, where they were interred on the 4th inst. amidst 
a vast collection of mourning kindred, friends and neigh¬ 

My saddest office was, the communication of this afflict¬ 
ing intelligence to Mrs. Curtis. No daughter ever loved 
a Father with more devoted affection, and none ever met 
with a greater loss than she does, in being thus bereaved of 
a parent, whose kindness of heart, benevolence, and true 
Christian life endeared him to all who knew him. He died 
at peace with all men, and welcoming death as the mes¬ 
senger about to unite him to a mother, wife, and dear chil¬ 
dren, from whom he had long been separated. 

Mrs. Curtis has been overwhelmed by the weight of her 
calamity, which her situation renders doubly unfortunate, 
and is now confined to her bed, but I trust will recover with¬ 
out any ill effect — 

*1 think he lived on Broadway. The last years of his life he owned 610 
Fifth Avenue and his death at a great age was caused by seeing people jump from 
the windows of the burning Windsor Hotel. 


• • • ■ •• -■ ■ ■ 

•<* ia 

1 '85A 

Friday, June 2. Have just been passing a couple of 
hours with my old friend Sanford, and anticipate much 
pleasure in his society, if he remains in the United States. 
Being now the possessor of a horse and buggy I take morn¬ 
ing drives and rides, and am improving in health, and am 
able to spend time enough to occasionally get little glimpses 
of the country verdure. 

While at Waterbury, I went to Harwinton to visit my 
old yellow nurse, Lovycy. I found her very old and im¬ 
mensely fat, and so enfeebled by the rheumatism, as not 
to be able to leave the house where she lived with her 
brother Chauncey. Many years have gone by since the old 
woman had seen me, and she could not recall in the mature 
man who stood before her, any resemblance to the sickly 
boy that in childhood had been so tenderly attached to her. 
When I told her who I was, she was delighted to have 
seen me, saying that she often wondered if she should ever 
see me, but of late years had given up the hope. 

When I saw her so poor and infirm, and so changed, I 
could hardly control my feelings, and when at the close of 
the interview I left her, I was consoled for many a hard 
day's work, by feeling that by it I was enabled to contribute 
something to her comfort in the closing years of life, and 
which she seemed reluctant to accept. 

We drove Charley down to New Haven, and passed 
the night at Mr. William Smith’s from there we drove to 
Stamford and passed Sunday, and Monday night arrived 
in New York. 

Friday, September 29th. 1854. Thirty-one years of 

age. Time is hurrying me over life’s turnpike. Occasion¬ 
ally I hear some person of more observation than polite¬ 
ness say “You are getting bald, Mr. Curtis.” and even the 
French barber essays to sell me her wonder-working hair 
tonics, by delicate intimations that “ les cheveaux de Mon¬ 
sieur commence a tomber .” 


sdi navo bnji .ainuO .iM f b!i;d dtk voY >l zzm 

[1854 and 1835] 

November 30. 1854. Thanksgiving. Drove out with 

Mrs. Curtis. Attended St. George’s Church. Dined at 
Mr. Scudders. Mrs. C. dined at her Aunt’s. 

Christmas. Passed at home. Wrote some at my lecture, 
and rode out in warm sunshine a c.heval at 3 p. m. Mr. and 
Airs. T. A. Davies dined with us. 

Wednesday, June 13, 1855. On the 2d inst. I found 
myself the father of a son, and am happy that both wife and 
child are now rapidly improving in health and strength.* 
I am engrossed, in fact abandoned so fully to my profes¬ 
sional occupations that I have no time for any other mat¬ 
ters save legal. 

To Mrs. W. E. Curtis, 

% F. J. Kingsbury, Esq., Waterbury. 

No. 106 Broadway, New York, 

Sep. 6/55. 

Cara Sposa, 

No letter today. I found quite to my surprise last eve¬ 
ning that your Aunt Maria had returned. Mr. Randolph 
called after dinner, and asked me if I had any engagement 
in the evening, and I made known to him my orders from 
you to call at a vacant house as I supposed. He left and 
down Broadway I went, and found your Uncle, Aunt and 
happy Miss Vail with Mr. Aloore whom your Uncle says 
she is to marry, all occupied in eating a cold lobster salad. 
Much love and many inquiries were touched upon in con¬ 
nection with you and the baby. Miss Vail looked thin and 
light hearted, and Air. Moore my successor saving Father 
Hooker, to the attributes of the mansion, appeared like a 
genuine Long Islander, who reads Burns, quotes Pickwick, 
and catches trout Sunday and week days. “ A very excel¬ 
lent match,” said your Uncle Thos. “ He lives in the City 
and his father is old.” Somebody “ who does business ” 
somewhere “ and is rich.” 

•William Edmond Curtis. 


'■ ' 1 ' ■ : 

ri. f Iv . - lomo'juz ytooh . M bn- t D3lis$rt 

[1855 and 1856'] 

From there I went to the Club, heard Mr. Verplank 
discuss Rachel, and Howard Wainwright told us about the 
music, scenery, and poetry of his new Opera, Rip Van 
Winkle, the first of American Operas which has been three 
months in rehearsal, and comes out next week. The scen¬ 
ery embraces the views and cascades of the Catskills with 
clouds rolling about the distant mountains which melt away 
before the rising sun. Miss Pyne sings as prima donna. 

Ann tells me, Mrs. Johns called to see you yesterday, 
looked very thin and pale and was helped up and down the 
steps to the carriage. If I knew where she was I would 
go and see her. When you write give my regrets, she left 
no address on her card. I have sent to Mr. Peck's store to 

Tonight I shall go to hear Rachel in Adrienne Le Couv- 
reure. I have a copy of the play in French and English, 
and will furnish you with it at the first opportunity if I 
find it worth the reading. 

• I am very well, and very busy. Nothing else specially 
worth noticing. I feel anxious about the baby as you say 
nothing about how he is in your last and do not write after¬ 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Christmas, 1855. On the 21st my Father was attacked 
with apoplexy and I hastened to Watertown where I found 
him in an alarming condition, and I passed this day in at¬ 
tending upon him. 

New Year’s, 1856. I availed myself of this day to again 
be at the bedside of my good Father who is slowly convalesc¬ 
ing from a calamity more fearful than death. 



ml i .nu« i nieit DrI) ‘noted 


(From Mrs. Holbrook Curtis when my brother Wil¬ 
liam was a year old). 

Watertown, March 20th, 1856. 

My Dear Mary Ann: 

Your letter was received and perused with pleasure for 
which I thank you. We are much more comfortable at 

present than I had anticipated.I would 

not exchange darling Willy for any other baby. No! not 
even with the Bishop. We are waiting for warm weather 
to arrive that we may again behold the lad, and return his 
little kiss with interest, please write often and let us know 
all about him. 

Services daily in the church this week. Dr. Holcomb 
preached last evening. Please remember me to Miss Hayt. 
Much love to William, and a good share taken out for your¬ 
self and Willy. 

Your affectionate Mother, 

E. C. 

Thursday, May 1st, 1856. My poor Father still remains 
sadly afflicted, and I make frequent and mournful pilgrim¬ 
ages to Watertown. My health is excellent, and I am work¬ 
ing at the top of my speed. I pass many of my evenings 
very agreeably at the Century Club, and these reunions con¬ 
stitute pretty much all the social recreation in which I in¬ 
dulge. My income has increased during the past year, and 
so have my expenses. 

My expenditures during the past year have been . .$5024.93 

Cash received from professional dues. 8035.20 

Cash received from rents, int. dividends, etc. .... 1020.00 

Wednesda}", May 14th. It is just ten years today, since 
I went through the solemn ordeal of Examination for ad¬ 
mission to the Old Supreme Court of this State, and I yet 
recall the feeling of pleasure, hope, and buoyancy with 
which I emerged at 9 P. M. from the rear door of the City 
Hall entitled to be called to the bar for which I had as it 
then seemed to me been so long studying. My hopes of pro- 


dmooloH .iG .ahaw airto ibiurb orto ni /(Hub wdiv'id3 

oi .*>13 ,abn3bivib .ini .slnsi men} bsvbooi risfiO 

fessional success have been more than realized, and as I 
survey the past ten years, which have slowly gone off the 
calendar of my life, I cannot but be grateful to the Provi¬ 
dential Pland that has guided me so pleasantly and success¬ 
fully thus far on the journey of life. Where shall I be, and 
what shall I say when another ten years are recorded as 
among the past? 

Thursday, May 29. The air today is charming and 
beautiful; a week ago today I attended the dinner given 
by some gentlemen of the Century Club to Doctor Cogs¬ 
well of the Astor Library. It was a most agreeable reunion, 
and capital speeches were made by Mr. Verplanck, Messrs. 
Cogswell, Bancroft, Higbee, Evarts, Van Winkle, and Mr. 
C. Bryant. Dr. Cogswell said that in 1836, old Mr. Astor 
sent for him and said he wished to give to the City of New 
York some expression of his feelings towards the City where 
all his enterprises had prospered. He said he proposed to 
devote $350,000 to that purpose, and he thought an equest¬ 
rian statue of Washington would be most suitable. Dr. C. 
dissuaded him by saying that it was a worthy national enter¬ 
prise, but that for a private citizen a great library would 
confer the highest boon upon the City. At Mr. Astor's 
request he prepared a plan which was approved by Mr. A. 
and “ during the rest of his life it was a subject to which 
he frequently recurred, conversing with me,” said Dr. C. 
“ under the old trees at Hurlgate sitting in the shade in 
after years.” 

Sept. 29, 1856. Thirty three years of age today. The 
great event to me of the past year is that my Father, to 
whom I have always looked for aid, advice, comfort, and 
protection, is so stricken down as to be utterly dependent 
on me and those around him. May Providence remove this 
cloud from the closing years of his life. 

Monday, Dec. 15, 1856. Again a Father. Henry 
Holbrook Curtis, so named after my deceased brother, was 
this day born to us. God be thanked for this and all his 




[1856 and /S57] 


Monday, Dec. 22. I attended the dinner'of the New 
England Society of which together with the New York 
Historical Society, Geographical Society, and Tammany 
Society, I have recently become a member. Brought home 
at 1 A. M. a bouquet for my wife in a most violent Plymouth 
Rock snow storm. 

During these years my father wrote constantly to his mother and took entire 
charge of the household in Watertown—His letters are affectionate and inter¬ 
esting but space prevents their addition here — 

Friday, May 1, 1857. Very few changes have taken 
place during the past year. My Father remains in the 
same melancholy state. As for health and business I have 
done well the last twelve months. 

Trip to Richmond 

Thursday, May 7th, 1857. Went to Washington, leav¬ 
ing home at 8 A. M. and arriving at 8 P. M. Passed a 
wretched sleepless night at Willard’s Hotel, disgusted with 
the filthy and vermin infested condition of the house, and 
was happy to find myself on board a steamboat and inhaling 
the pure atmosphere of the Potomac at 6 A. M. We passed 
Alexandria and Mount Vernon, when we were summoned 
to brearkfast, and then until early noon glided along the 
pleasing shores of the turbid river, when we arrived at 
Acquia Creek. 

At this point a change of Latitude was manifest in the 
advanced stage of vegetation that surrounded us. All the 
trees at Hoboken where I crossed the river the morning be¬ 
fore, except the willows, were as black and naked as mid¬ 
winter, but now they wore the pale yellowish green of ex¬ 
panding foliage. As we left in the cars for Richmond the 
progress was more marked, and in the venerable town of 
Fredericksburg, the lilac trees were exposing their flowery 

About the middle of the afternoon we were drawn 
closely into the heart of Richmond. I dined at the Ex¬ 
change Hotel, paid my respects to Judge Haliburton, and 
then sauntered through the streets to the State House 


ff a**-? :oK • 

[^ 57 ] 

Square. A pleasing monument to Washington is being con¬ 
structed from an albitic granite as white and as beautiful 
as marble, and two bronz statues, one of Jefferson with the 
scroll and pen of 1776 and the other of Patrick Henry her¬ 
alding the coming Revolution, grace the State House steps 
at its side. These statues are destined for the monument, 
and as I lingered and gazed upon these mute memorials of 
the mighty past, the last rays of the setting sun giving life¬ 
like expression to their dark countenances and colossal 
forms, I saw the name of Crawford the sculptor, now dying 
the saddest of deaths in a foreign land, and I could not 
but think that Genius and Patriotism and Art contend feeb¬ 
ly against the grave. 

Saturday, May 9th. I attended on business matters in 
the morning, and visited the State House, which contains 
the statue of Washington by Houdon citoyen francciis Ij88. 
It differs from the usual representation of the full-faced, 
florid complexion that is commonly attributed to Wash¬ 
ington. The cheekbones are high and the cheeks sunken. 
Judge Haliburton informed me that his mother, who was 
a niece of Mrs. Washington and for many years an inmate 
of Mount Vernon, always pronounced it an admirable like¬ 
ness. I had the honor of being presented to Governor Wise 
at the Executive Chamber. He is a small, pale, wan faced 
man with long white hair, looking at one moment as if he 
was thirty five and next sixty five, so variable is the expres¬ 
sion of his countenance, which is lighted up by an eye that 
glitters either from a morbid excitement of the brain, or 
from a chronic irritation of the nerves. His manner is 
simple and polished, but rendered disagreeable by the ex¬ 
cessive use of tobacco, and his physical system is apparently 
debilitated by excessive chewing and spitting. He con¬ 
verses eloquently, his eye lights up with courage and ex¬ 
citement, he speaks continuously, no one interrupting or 
speaking when the subject interests him, but all are fascin¬ 
ated into silence. He addressed me upon the resources of 


[^ 57 ] 

Virginia, became wrapt in the subject, and after listening 
for half an hour, I withdrew, leaving him to finish signing 
the Land Patents upon which he was engaged when inter¬ 
rupted by our visit. He spoke contemptuously of Yankees, 
and my blood warmed a little as it always does when Irish¬ 
men and Yankees are slandered. 

The State Library struck me as being only a tolerable 
collection of books, but the view from the south windows 
far beyond Richmond, the James River, and its rich valley 
away toward the pine forests of Southern Virginia, was 
delightful, and I thought I detected the fragrance of the 
distant forest as I stood loitering at the windows inhaling 
the delicious southern breeze. In the afternoon I took a 
drive with Judge Haliburton, visiting the Eastern Hill 
of the city, the ancient little church surrounded by its brick- 
walled churchyard and falling tombstones, in which Patrick 
Henry breathed forth his memorable defiance to the Crown, 
and then we went to the large plain house where Chief 
Justice Marshall passed so many years of his great career. 
The approach of night found us gathering wild flowers, 
and looking down upon the turbid yellow waters of the 
falls of the James River, and lounging under the tall oaks 
that cluster over the knolls of the Richmond Cemetery. 

The next morning I was on my way to Charlottesville, 
the seat of the University of Virginia, and near which re¬ 
pose the ashes of Thomas Jefferson. The first thirty miles 
of our road lay through a beautiful, well tilled interval 
country, the next forty or fifty passed upon the summit line 
between two rivers, a wretched stunted pine, and exhausted 
country. In conversation in the cars, I found my neigh¬ 
bor was the son of Mr. Rives, on a visit to his father who 
lives about twenty miles east of Charlottesville, and that 
we had many acquaintances in common. He left me at his 
father’s estate on the borders of Albemarle County, giving 
me a card of introduction to his uncle, Mr. Alexander 
Rives of Carlton near Monticello. All the land in Albe- 


- r • i ; ir.''o 

[^ 57 ] 

marie County was ploughed, no meadows, no pastures, but 
capital, arable rich soil it was. I found sorry quarters and 
an indifferent dinner at the Hotel, where I arrived about 

After dinner, by the exercise of some patience, and the 
expression of some impatience, I succeeded in having a 
venerable vehicle; with two good horses and very poor 
negro attached driven to the door, all at my service. I 
called at Carlton, truly a beautiful residence, on a gentle 
hill, the avenue winding up and fringed with trees, and I 
received a most hospitable reception from Mr. A. Rives. 
He was to leave in the evening on a canvassing excursion 
and I declined his pressing invitations to stay in his house. 

An ascending drive of two or three miles, part of the 
distance through a forest, brought us to a heavy ruinous 
brick enclosure, where sleep the remains of Jefferson; a 
little up the ascent and we were among the outbuildings 
that extend along the estern side of the mansion. Neither 
the overseer or the overseer's wife could be found, and no 
one of the black faces and wooly heads that peered out and 
surveyed us from the negroes’ quarters could tell where 
the keys were. 

From the house I went to the grave of Jefferson, but 
I was not prepared for such a scene of destruction and 
vandalism. The inscription upon his monument was 
effaced, the monument itself battered and broken, and like 
indignities had been offered to the marble slabs which once 
marked the grave of his mother and other near relatives. 
Barbaric curiosity seems to be the only excuse for these out¬ 
rages. Gathering two or three wild flowers that had sprung 
up amid the wreck, I bade farewell and peace to his ashes, 
and returned to the village. From here I went to visit the 
University, and was charmed with the beauty of the site, 
the extent and character of the buildings, and the air of 
order and study that prevails. Physically the students were 
inferior to our young men of the North, more delicately 


. j fh sin issn i*3(iK- ! nr vxf Ipcri aid lo ovBig arit b^ifirn 



framed and pale, and attenuated, I think, by the habitual 
excessive use of tobacco . In the evening, I attended the 
Episcopal Church, and on my way home I heard a part of 
a very eloquent sermon delivered by a young man named 
Hanson at the Baptist Church. The galleries of the 
Churches were crowded with negroes, many of them more 
or less whitened. 

After a sleepless night tourmente comtne a Vordinaire 
par les punaises , I found myself in the cars en route for 
Richmond where I arrived at 2 P. M. Abandoning my 
intention to visit Norfolk, I prepared to return, and before 
doing so I hunted up a cousin Robert S. Edmond, with 
whom I had a very agreeable interview, and then in the 
midst of a sudden change of temperature, about 48, instead 
of the 89 of the day previous, I was flying northward. At 
1 A. M. I went on board a steamer at Aquia Creek, threw 
myself on a settee, and covered myself with a shawl. I 
courted sleep until morning, when again taking the cars I 
continued my journey until the setting sun left me entering 
my own door in New York. 

Wednesday, May 13th. I received by the morning jour¬ 
nals the sad intelligence of the decease of the learned, ven- 
rated Chief Justice Thomas J. Oakley — 

Wednesday, July 29th, 1857. 

New York. 

My Dearest Mother, 

I hope you are not suffering any ill effects from your 
jaunt, and that you will escape blistering your face and be 
all the better for the various perils by flood and field we 

I feel very uneasy about father, and how you will be 
able to get on, and could not close my eyes until day was 
dawning this morning. 





I write to you what the doctors said to me, although it 
may not be best to be guided by their advice, I think it 
would be better for us to follow it. 

Hoping you are well, I am 

Yours Affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

P. S. Don’t let any fear of expense or cost deprive you 
of providing or doing anything you may feel inclined to, 
for I know of no better use of money than to mitigate as far 
as it will go the sorrows of sickness. 

W. E. C. 

I attended Trinity College Commencement, and am in¬ 
formed that I have the honor to be one of the Trustees, but 
I have remained most of the summer in New York, oc¬ 
casionally driving out to my friend, Mr. Randolph's, at 
Bayside to pass a day or night. 

Christmas 1857 

I am alone in my Library and have been reviewing the 
past. My journal, my books, my taste for poetry, the Dra¬ 
ma, Art and the Beautiful, I fear are almost forgotten in 
the all absorbing duties of my profession. Still, I am 
cheered with the hope that a day of rest, of pleasing lux¬ 
urious ease will come, when the tastes and studies of earlier 
years will supply renewed fountains of enjoyment.* 

A storm of bankruptcy and dismay has for three months 
utterly paralyzed the country. The banks have recently, 
in this city, resumed the payment of their liabilities in 
specie. My income is affected sensibly as that of every 
professional man by the absolute inability of clients to pay. 

My duties have been recently increased by my being 
elected one of the School Commissions of the 18th Ward, 
under peculiarly flattering circumstances. But my wife 
warns me it is time to accompany her to Judge Davies, 
where the family are collected for the festivities of a Christ¬ 
mas evening. 

•They never came to any of my family. Holbrook always hoped to have time 
to paint, William to travel. 


New Year’s, 1858 

I have made sixty-seven calls, and enjoyed the day very 
much. The sun has shone bright and warm, and the at¬ 
mosphere has been of the temperature of a pleasant April 
morning. I drove Charley about rapidly most of the day, 
and had made all but three visits when I came home to 
dine at seven P.M. Mrs. Curtis has been receiving calls 
with Miss Sarah Kingsbury, who has come from Miss 
Haynes’ School to pass the holidays. (Afterwards Mrs. 
Franklin Carter, whose husband was President of Wil¬ 
liams College.) 

Death of My Father 

While I was awaiting the opening of Court, Saturday, 
February 20th, at the City Hall, the judge being detained 
by the severe snow storm then raging, I received a tele¬ 
graphic despatch informing me that both my parents were 
in a very feeble and failing state. I immediately left by 
the train and reached Watertown about 9 P. M. I first 
saw my Mother, who was very feeble and exhausted, and 
then went to my Father's room. I found him motionless 
and breathing with a painful gurgling respiration, unable 
to swallow and unconscious except for an instant when, by 
speaking to him, I aroused him and he welcomed me with 
a faint smile, but he relapsed into languor and drowsiness 
and continued in that state. 

About eight o’clock, when I was watching alone in the 
room with him, I saw that his clear blue eyes became 
leaden and fixed, his florid complexion that had remained 
through his long illness unchanged, began to assume an 
ashen hue, and the efforts for breath were rapid and in¬ 
effectual. I called in the attendants. The last moment of 
his existence had arrived, a short breath, a long pause, 
another feeble attempt at respiration, a long interval in 
which we waited for another breath, but it came no more, 
and my Father that had loved me so long and so tenderly 
had ceased to exist. 


US 5 8] 

May it be my lot to pass away as painlessly and tran¬ 
quilly as he did, and to have my eyes closed by children who 
love and respect me. 

He was buried in the new family place of interment 
on the Tuesday following, after funeral services at the 
Church, where the Reverend Mr. Stone preached a very 
appropriate and excellent sermon. 

I shall endeavor hereafter to prepare a little sketch of 
my Father’s life and character, which may be interesting 
to my children at some future day when, it is quite prob¬ 
able, cut down in harness, I shall have followed him. 

May ist, 1858. I have been computing my expenses 
and receipts during the past year and find that notwith¬ 
standing the commercial depression, my professional in¬ 
come has increased. My professional engagements are 
incessant, and I suffer pecuniarily from not having time to 

collect and attend to my income from the same. Thank 
God I have been blessed with health and strength, and 
pray for their continuance. 

This is the statement for the past year: 

•Expenditures since May 1, 1857. $6,323.46 

Cash received from professional services. IO >396-37 

Cash received from interest, dividends, rent, etc., 

net . 3,400.00 

Sunday, June 28th. All alone at the house, Mrs. Cur¬ 
tis and the children are at the old mansion at Watertown. 
I am glad my children can play under the same old maples 
where we played when children (is it possible?) thirty 
years ago. 

Note — In 1923 they are still there for his great grand¬ 

Journey to Chazy Lake and Ogdensburg 

Friday, August 13th, 1858. At 3 P. M., I was leaving 
New York and its heat, smells and dust to overtake the 



itarfi idi 

[ ISS8 and 1859] 

Scudders, who were three days in advance of me, for the 
Lakes and Mountains of the Adirondacks. Wm. Allen 
Butler, Judge Dean and gradually all the numerous friends 
I met in the car tarried at their summer retreats on the 
banks of the river, and alone at 11 P. M., I arrived at the 
Tory House. Refreshed by a good night’s rest and break¬ 
fast, I left the next morning by train for Whitehall. 

(I omit the remainder, he goes 10 Ogdenburg and sees the Old Davies House.) 

Passing the night at Mrs. Ranney’s, I returned the next 
day to Plattsburgh, meeting my friend Thomas H. Gal- 
laudet and wife at the cars and passing the day very 

Saturday, August 21st. At 7 A. M., I took the boat 
for Burlington. Meeting Professor Webster on board the 
cars, we passed the day agreeably, he leaving at Castleton. 
Soon after I entered the Express train at Troy and at 10 
P. M., I was at 32nd Street and the gleam of gas lights 
and the customary suggestions and imprecations of hack- 
men, aroused me from a drowse and announced that I was 
in New York. 

October nth, 1858. Francis Randolph Curtis, my 
third son, was born and so named after my esteemed friend, 
Franklin Fitz Randolph of this city. 

Visit to Washington 

Saturday, January 8th. I left New York covered with 
snow in the morning, and arrived at Washington in the 
evening, where the grass was green in the public squares. 
Sunday morning I went with Henry S. Sanford to church 
and strolled about the City. Read Goodrich’s Recollec¬ 
tions of a Life Time. I found at Willard’s where I stayed, 
my kinswoman, the wife of the Honorable Ezra Clark, 
M.C., from Connecticut, Senator Foster and his lady, 
Honorable Preston King, and many other charming and 
agreeable people. 

Monday I was at the Senate Chamber and in the Su¬ 
preme Court. The Senate, how changed from that body 





where nine years ago I hung upon the eloquence of Clay, 
and where I saw assembled Webster, and Benton, and a 
host of others who have gone to their long rest! Called 
with Sanford on the Honorable Mr. Dixon and on Mrs. 
Dixon. The day was extremely cold for .Washington, 
mercury probably ten above zero, but I saw Mr. Cass, 
seventy-seven years of age, walking from his residence to 
the State Department, in an ordinary dress coat and as un¬ 
protected, save for a hat, as he would have been in a 
drawing room against the inclemency of the day. 

Tuesday. Called on Senator Seward and Senator Foote, 
Mr. King accompanying me. At i P. M., I drove out with 
Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Dixon, and called with them on 
Mrs. Goddard, Mrs. Judge Wayne and Campbell, and on 
Mrs. Seton, Mrs. Holly and Bridge and others. In the 
evening I went with Sanford to the President’s reception. 
The President* is a large, portly, fresh, full-faced vigorous 
old gentleman, who gave his hand to all who were presented 
in a quiet unostentatious way. 

Miss Lane, standing in the middle of a semi-circle of 
ladies and gentlemen, received in a most graciously and 
queenly manner. Her toilette was elegant and she had the 
air and bearing of a highly cultured, vigorous, energetic 
woman. The fresh cheeks, blue eyes and English look, 
showed her to be the niece of the President. (She had the 
next house to us in Washington in 1894, a beautiful white 
haired woman.) 

The rooms filled, the band played, beauty, and uniforms, 
the heroes of the Bench and the Senate, fair ladies, brave 
men, and German Jew peddlers, all moved along quietly 
and at their ease in this democratic assemblage. 

Wednesday. I heard General Houston in the Senate 
Chamber reply to Mr. Iveson of Georgia, who charged him 
with being no representative of the South and as repudiated 
by his own state. General Houston was cool and eloquent 



(.riBmow fcmisrf 

v nup gno 6 dvcoi iU ( ?*3lbb3q ?/3 ^ rifirrmO fens nsm 

[/<?59 and i860 ] 

in his reply, and told me afterwards that neither at the bar 
or in a legislative assemblage had he ever permitted him¬ 
self to be betrayed into a passion. Called on Mr. Tracey 
and Mr. and Mrs. George Taylor. 

In the evening I went with Mrs. Clark to a party at 
Mr. Sec. Floyd's. This was a brilliant collection, more so 
than at the President’s reception. Thursday I visited the 
Smithsonian Institute, and the Patent Office and attended 
a reception at Mr. — . 

November 28th, 1859. My time of office as a School 
Commissioner expires with the year. Its duties have oc¬ 
cupied some of my attention and their discharge has kept 
me from being utterly surrendered to the law and its details. 
I am a candidate for a renomination, if my friends wish it, 
but care nothng further about it. There will be some op¬ 
position to it, on the ground that I am opposed to with¬ 
holding the pay of the Catholic principals. I will never 
consent to do wrong willingly. 

Christmas, 1859 

I accompanied Mrs. Curtis and the two eldest boys to 
Mrs. Kingsbury’s to pass Christmas. The children were 
especially delighted; it was their first visit from home and 
the first time they had ever seen the country in winter. As 
we approached within ten or twelve miles of Waterbury 
we first met snow and then soon fields and hemlocks covered 
with it, and people travelling in sleighs, Bishop Williams, 
Reverend Dr. Clark and several other gentlemen passed 
Monday evening at Mr. Kingsbury’s. 

Monday, January 24th. I believe I have omitted to 
record my return to the Board of Education by a majority 
of twenty-eight votes in some five thousand polled. It was 
a. close contest and some considerable amount of money and 
cheating was expended in the effort to defeat me. On the 
4th of January, I was elected, to my surprise, President of 
the Board, an office for which I was not a candidate. Last 
week on Monday I tried a case in Rockland County and had 



iM tfi gninavD (fibnoM 

] -- 


to cross the country to Suffern’s Station and return by the 
Erie Railroad, night express, in consequence of the ice on 
the Hudson. Friday P. M., I dined at the Union Club. 
Met among the guests Governor Seymour of New York 
and General Dix, Baron Rothschild, August Belmont, 
Abram S. Hewitt, and other political and personal friends 
of my hosts, George I. Forrest and Mr. Butterworth. After 
dinner played two hours at whist with General Seymour, 
General Dix and Mr. Hewitt. I think the young Hebrew 
with his youth, his German Israelite face, his wealth, title 
and decoration in buttonhole, was the poorest specimen 
mentally and physically, that I saw around me at the table. 

Thursday, January 26th. Attended another dinner at 
Professor Davies’. It was given to General Scott, and 
many of his boys, as several venerable looking gentlemen 
designated themselves, who graduated at West Point prior 
to 1819, were present. The evening passed delightfully 
and the old hero ate, drank and told stories to our heart’s 

In speaking of the aversion of New England people to 
mutton, he stated that in the Mexican War the New Eng¬ 
land regiment preferred to go without eating, than to eat 
that, though he himself dined well from it in front of his 
tent. I suppose his example was intended pour encourager 
les autres. Among the guests were Dr. Webster of the 
Free Academy, Dr. King of Columbia College, Professor 
Peck, Professor Bartlett of West Point, and T. A. Davies. 

Journey to Charleston S . C. 

Some refreshing sleep at the Mills House beguiled away 
the earlier portion of the day, then came dinner which was 
followed by rain and a thunderstorm. The house was filled 
by planters and their families who had either come to 
Charleston for a few days of recreation, or were attracted 
by the races. I was struck by the fine appearance and 
height of the men, and by their courteous and elegant de¬ 
meanor, while the women had beautiful eyes and fine 



[. i860 ] 

figures, but their complexions indicated the prevalence of 
affections of the liver. 

Monday, Feb 6. Before breakfast I rambled over a 
considerable portion of the town. The gardens, the flowers, 
the views from the Battery, and the fine old mansions with 
their roomy grounds and brick enclosures charmed me. It 
was evident that a century since, it had been inhabited and 
built by men of income and taste. 

In the morning after breakfast, we drove over the bridge 
to Ashley Hall, the country residence and estate of Col. 
Wm. Izard Bull. For six miles we hardly saw a house. 
The road was bounded each side by large pines and oaks, 
rising from an impenetrable thicket of vines, canes and pal¬ 
mettos, and forming huge arches over our heads, from 
whence hung the waving, mournful drifts of grey Spanish 
moss. Occasionally an avenue was opened through to some 
planter’s residence. 

At length our carriage, turned to the right, passing 
through a finely designed gateway, and entering upon a 
long avenue of nearly a mile in extent. Huge live oaks 
skirted it, and as we emerged into the park and lawn that 
surrounds an imposing venerable residence, we were im¬ 
pressed by the size and the beauty of these lions of the 
forest. Some of them were over thirty feet in diameter, 
throwing out long tough limbs that in one instance touched 
the ground in a circle around the trunk of the tree, so that 
the diameter of the enormous pavillion thus formed was 
58 yards. 

Col. Bull gave us a most hospitable reception.* He 
showed us the house in which he lives built in 1672, and the 
old house of the original ancestor, in which the unbroken 
treaty to this day was made with the Cherokees. Two of 
the family were Provincial Governors of South Carolina, 
and the estate has never been alienated. He showed us his 

*When the Yankees entered Charleston he set fire to his house with his own 
hand so that it should not be taken. 



grounds which were blooming with violets and japonicas 
and native oranges, all in the open air. We saw his fish 
pond, elks in the park with enormous horns, while those 
that they shed last spring ornamented his hall, bamboos 
and all spice from the East Indies, and Spanish olives all 
flourishing. After inspecting a curious Indian mound, 
about thirty feet high and covered with trees in his garden, 
the gin where the negroes were ginning cotton, and a fine 
ante revolutionary monument to one of his ancestors, we re¬ 
turned to the high road by another avenue leading through 
the cultivated portion of the estate. Here we saw the snug 
cottages of the slaves, and men and women working in the 
fields, clearing out ditches and collecting leaves for the com¬ 
post heap.* A shower overtook us on our return. 

In the evening we went to the theatre, more to see the 
audience than the Ravees who played, but the house was 
small, most of the persons who would attend being at a 
large ball that evening as we were afterwards informed. 

Tuesday, Feb. 7. I walked with Mrs. Curtis through 
the market, the Battery and some of the interesting portions 
of this strange old town. After breakfast I visited the 
Charleston Club, the City Hall, where I saw Powers’ 
statue of Calhoun, Trumbull’s Washington and some other 
curious and interesting things. Meeting Judge Pierpont 
of New York, we visited the Court rooms, and had the 
pleasure of being presented to Judge Withers, Chancellor 
Inglis, Attorney Gen. Haynes, Gen. Martin, Col. Philips 
and Mr. Pettigrew. The last named gentleman is the con¬ 
ceded leader of the bar, 73 years of age, without a white 
hair in his brown shock that hangs to his shoulders like a 
lion’s mane. 

At 1 p. m. we recommenced our journey homeward. 
After three hours’ delay at Wilmington, we sped on through 
the rain to Portsmouth where we arrived at 4 p. m. finding 
as we reached there a little snow mingled with the rain. 

*My mother said it was all spoiled for her by the screams of a negress being 
whipped. It must have been on the way back to Charleston. I can’t believe Col. 
Bull was cruel. 



[. i860 ] 

Crossing the river to Norfolk I spent the next day calling 
on the aged Mrs. Payne, Mrs. Cook, Mr. Robertson and 
other friends. It was a lovely day. 

— remainder omitted 

Thursday June 14, i860. On Tuesday I was called from 
Court by telegraph to Mrs. Curtis at Watertown. Yes¬ 
terday at 6:30 a. m. another boy was added to our number 
and I have today hastened back to my duties leaving both 
mother and child, thanks be to Providence, doing well. 
That God may bless him through life is my fervent prayer. 
(Eustace Sanford born June 12) 

Journey to Europe . 

Wednesday July 4th, i860. At 8 o’clock a. m. I left 
Jersey City on the steamer Asia bound for Liverpool. 

Excerpt from letter to Mrs. Curtis. I have cut out the guide book stuff. 
There is a model of the ship, a side-wheeler, at the museum of the city of New 

Sunday, July 15th. 

The storm cleared away in the night, and a beautiful 
morning greeted us as we emerged from our narrow quar¬ 
ters and came on deck. 

Holyhead and the coast of England were in sight. All 
day we passed along most pleasantly. The channel was 
still, steamers and ships under full sail were on every side 
of us. Church spires, houses, cultivated fields, the new- 
mown meadows with their hay cocks resting over Sunday 
were distinctly seen on shore. The mountains of Wales 
always wrapped in showers, lay on our right. 

Presently the fleet that bears the Prince of Wales to 
Canada came in sight, though we only surmised such to be 
the fact. An Admiral’s ship, followed by the Channel Fleet, 
ten large ships, in two rows about three miles apart, each 
ship being about one mile behind the other, with sails set, 
and rolling from side to side in the long swell was the order 
in which they were proceeding. Each appeared to be fitted 
with propellors. 



mt>d irdl 193ft sd) x^ n083lt " 

xj jzin \xk > j »■» K * w- 


We gradually neared the Irish coast, high cliffs with 
the surf looking like snow drifts twenty feet high as it broke 
at their feet. Some cultivation appeared, and Bantry Bay 
where Gen. Hoche landed with the French troops, looked 
more quiet and inviting. 

Thursday, July 19. 

Excerpt — 

The Randolphs are on the Continent, and Goodridge 
leaves to join them and I have a letter from Mrs. McLean 
whom I shall visit soon. I have seen the Tunnel, the Tower, 
Hyde Park, Buckingham & St. James Palaces. My hotel, 
Fenton's, St. James St., being in the west end and near them. 
I have presented part of my letters of introduction. Sir 
Hugh Cairns took me this evening into the House of Com¬ 
mons, where I heard him, Sir Richard Bethell, Lord Pal¬ 
merston, Lord Ino Russell, D'Israeli, Sir Charles Napier 
and others speak. It is late I have just come from there. To¬ 
morrow night he takes me to the House of Lords. 

Yours most affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Excerpt — 

In the evening Sir Hugh Cairns, who is the late Solici¬ 
tor General and the most rapidly rising lawyer in England, 
went with me to the House of Lords and I remained upon 
the floor of the House until its adjournment, where I could 
see and hear everything to the best advantage. 

Lord Chancellor Campbell, 84 years of age, presided, 
sitting on the wool sack (you recollect reading his lives of 
the Lord Chancellors) and I was told that he showed no 
trace of his years as far as the vigor of his mind is concerned. 
He spoke slowly, distinctly, and in a loud, firm tone of voice, 
but in his big wig and robes he looked to me like a bluff, 
fresh faced old woman. I heard besides him the Duke of 
Argyle, and many other conspicuous peers. Physically they 
are a tall, blue-eyed, fresh-faced, light-haired, and rather 
stout, fine-looking collection of men. 



—. • 4a i tr I nff A 3 . AA Z 


a ora o !(ino^oj gni;Ioc 


Yesterday, July 21, I saw Madame Tusseaud’s wax 
figures and Napoleonic Gallery, The Royal Exchange and 
Bank of England. In the afternoon, I went and called on 
Mrs. McLean, who is about 18 miles from London, living 
at a quiet hotel in the centre of a beautiful park, and most 
delightfully situated. It was formerly the residence of the 
Duke of York and in the grounds I saw the tombstones 
erected to the memory of 62 of the various pet dogs of the 
Duchess of York. In the evening I went to the Italian 
Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre, at the invitation of Mr. 
Morgan who invited me to a seat in his box. I have also 
accepted an invitation to dine with them today at 7 p. m. 

This morning I went to The Temple Church, a curious 
monument of the past built about the close of the 12th Cen¬ 
tury for the Knights Templars. Their effigies with the legs 
crossed of such of them as were crusaders, lie upon the tops 
of their monuments. After that I went to St. Swithin’s 
Church, where I heard an excellent sermon to 7 men includ¬ 
ing the beadle and a baby, 9 women, 18 or 20 charity chiL 
dren and I thought how different this from St. George’s. 

Tomorrow I hope to receive a second letter from you. 
E. Goodridge went last night to join his sister at Baden 

Tuesday July 24, i860. 

The dinner at Mr. Morgan’s was quite an elegant affair. 
They live on Hyde Park, in the best quarter of the town, 
with much more space about the house than we ever see 
in New York with equipage, liveries, etc. 

Yesterday I went to the British Museum, where I could 
pass a week profitably. After that I went to the House of 
Lords and heard a portion of the argument of an Appeal 
before Lord Chancellor Campbell and Lord Brougham 
and the other Law Lords. After that I went to the College 
of Heralds and saw some curious things, then to the Royal 
Academy and then to the National Gallery. Llere I saw 
Turner and Claude’s Landscapes side by side. Pictures by 


isbrJ h; d r oj < ] t Ut ; Irs rr sy bnboo< .3 

1 - 1 ( i : ; 

.at9 t n lovii ^rqrupo ritiv/ ahoY W3/1 ni 
us, ui ililo rh 03 injw I nbittfsa T 

6 'i*j / if .. . f. * ... { 

• ; ■ . . • rl .:• ' f ••.. 

adi OJ nodi bns vmobfioA 


Reubens, Guido, Titian, Paul Veronese, Vernet and the 
Poussins. Turner and Claude's landscapes are much alike 
in their effect, and surpass anything we have infinitely. 

Today I go to Windsor Castle and to Hampton Court 
to see the beauties of Charles 2nd, if I have time. Mrs. 
McLean lives about six miles from there, and I hope she 
will come over and meet me. 

It has rained every day I have been in England, usually 
about ten showers a day. Yesterday it poured every moment 
They say it is unusually wet and cold. Mercury rarely 
rises above 64. I ride about in a cab wrapped up in my 

I hope you are all well and earnestly pray that it may 
be so. Give my love to all. Kiss the babies and tell them 
I think of them every day. 

Believe me ever yours, 

Most affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 


Thursday, Aug. 23rd. i860. 

My dear Wife: 

Although it is before breakfast, and quite early, the 
air is redolent with the drum and fife and bugle, and sol¬ 
diers are moving in all directions, and thus it is in every 
capital of Europe. We may be grateful to Providence, 
that we are free from the insolence of men tricked out in 
uniform in every place about us, and from being taxed to 
pay their bills. 

I arrived at night at Prague, and had a very pleasant 
companion for my journey from Vienna, in a young Aus¬ 
trian officer who is an aid of the Arch Duke, and who was 
as well acquainted with Commander Marsy and our other 
•scientific and military men by reputation, as if he had been 
•educated at West Point. 

At Dresden I visited the collection of rare and beauti¬ 
ful paintings and the other collections in the city and the 


**u y ^nuoy * ni jintiviV moii v^muo[ vm iol noinfiqmo> 

[i860 and 1861 ] 

localities which are usually visited by strangers, and drove 
about the city. I also attended a concert in the evening, 
where the daughters and mamas sitting up straight as ar¬ 
rows and knitting stockings, were listening to the music and 
talking to the officers who sat about smoking. 

Most affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Wednesday Aug. 15. I went from Venice to Trieste, 
thence to Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Cologne, Cob- 
lentz, Mayence, Weisbaden, Frankfort, Baden Baden, Stras¬ 
bourg to Paris. 

Monday Sept. 3. I returned from Paris to London from 
whence I went to Edinburgh and after visiting Roslyn 
Castle, Abbotsford, Melrose Abbey and Dryburgh ruins, 
passed by Sterling and the Lakes, Loch Katrine and Loch 
Lomond to Glasgow, from where I went to Belfast. 

Monday Sept. 10. I visited the Giants Causeway, from 
thence I went to Londonderry, Enniskellen, Droghide, to 
Dublin, thence to Hollyhead, to Chester and then to Liver¬ 
pool, sailing from there on board the Persia on Saturday, 
Sept. 15th and arriving in New York on Thursday morning, 
Sept. 27th. 

Saturday Sept. 29. Thirty-seven years of age today. 
I am hardly 48 hours off the deck of the rolling steamer 
that has borne me safely to home and kindred. Tod ay I 
assisted at the baptism of my youngest son, Eustace San¬ 
ford Curtis, at St. John’s Church, Waterbury, by the Rev. 
Dr. Clark. 

Friday, Jan. 4. 1861. This is the President’s Fast in view 
of the imminent danger of civil war and ruin to our country. 
Heard Dr. Tyng preach. Most republicans deride the idea 
of danger and Judge Foot showed his contempt for the fast 
by working all day at the office. 

Monday March 25. Went to Philadelphia with Mrs. 
Curtis, having been ill for two weeks from over work and 
hard cold, the physician sent me off. Tuesday we went to 



r ! : »! ■ ' ';i i 


Washington. Met Mr. Seward, Senator Foster, Mr. Rus¬ 
sel, the London Times correspondent and some other 
gentlemen at H. S. Sanford’s at dinner. He leaves to-mor¬ 
row as L T . S. Minister to Belgium. Thursday I went to 
Richmond. Friday I passed very pleasantly at Robert 
Edmond's, drove out to his plantation. Attended the sit¬ 
tings of the Virginia convention. Saturday I went to Nor¬ 
folk via Westpoint, York River and Yorktown. Sunday I 
remained in Baltimore and returned to New York, Mon¬ 
day, April i, much refreshed by my jaunt. 

Saturday, April 13. The news has arrived of the cap¬ 
ture of Fort Sumter by the troops of the Confederate States. 
Intense excitement exists throughout the city. 

Monday, April 15. The President has called out 75,00o 
militia. The greatest excitement still continues and lawyers 
are so much engrossed that the business of the courts is 

April 17. Jefferson Davis proclaims that his govern¬ 
ment will issue letters of marque. 

April 19. The President proclaims a blockade of the 
ports of the seceding states. The 7th Regiment, composed 
of the flower and chivalry of youth of the City marched at 
5 p. m. for Washington, proceeding down Broadway amidst 
a vast concourse who cheered them and shed tears as the 
brave boys passed. Wm. Henry Scoville marched as a 
private, having enlisted two days before. Two or three 
hours before they left, the news arrived that on this anni¬ 
versary of the Battle of Lexington, the Mass. Reg. that was 
cheered yesterday while marching through the streets of 
New York to Washington, were being treacherously at¬ 
tacked and slain in the streets of Baltimore. 

Sunday April 21. I have just seen the march down 
Broadway for embarkation of the 7th, 12th and 71st Regts. 
Such an ovation I never witnessed. Many of the recruits 
had no muskets or knapsacks, and some of them were des¬ 
titute of blankets. 




-t£ ^nisd jiow t nojgnifi2fiW oi ^ho ’ vnVl 



Monday May 13, 1861. 

To Mrs. W. E. Curtis, 

Watertown, Conn. 

My dear Wife: 

I was glad to hear from you that you arrived safely. This 
morning is my first intelligence from you. 

Saturday P. M. 1 called at your Uncle Thomas’ (Gen¬ 
eral Davies) and accepted an invitation to dine Sunday. 
When I went I found he had gone to Fort Schuyler to re¬ 
serve those quarters for his Regiment to drill in. You 
know he has just been made Colonel of the three years’ 
Regiment from St. Lawrence Co., now encamped in Albany, 
so I dined with the bereaved ladies, your aunt and Mrs. 
Julia Davies and endeavored to Make Miss Vail happy 
who was present, but very sombre. 

Wm. Henry came in just at Church time in the morn¬ 
ing, says he is well, has got a furlough for a week, had 
staid at the St. Nicholas Sat. P. M., intends going to Water- 
bury, looked well but seedy. 

I shall come up Sat. a. m. I think. Wish I could now. 
Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Monday, June 17, 1861. 

My dear Wife: 

I am just down from Court, I won the cause which is 
some consolation for having to stay over for it. 

I called and saw Mansfield last night, he is on his way 
to Albany, to try to get Enfield rifles for his regiment. 
They had sharp work. I believe I wrote to you that I had 
helped get a new sword for J. York. 

Mansfield told me William Mallory behaved courage¬ 
ously. Got a ball through the fold of his pantaloon, and 
another under his hand when they were lying down, but 
received no hurt, and that he moved about everywhere 




in the range of the enemy’s fire, seeming to suppose his 
size freed him from risk. Mr. Raymond was there and I 
see our conversation made two articles in this morning’s 

Love to you all. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 


May i, 1861. The budget of my fifteenth year of pro¬ 

fessional labor: 

Expenditures since May i, i860. $9>635-°!> 

Cash received for prof, services since May 1 . . . . 11,319.97 
Cash received from int. rent, dividends, etc.8,000.00 

June 27th. Attended commencement at Trinity Col¬ 
lege. None of my class were present. The exercises were 
for the first time at St. John’s Church. Some of the gradu¬ 
ating class laid aside their uniforms only to receive their 
diplomas and some degrees were conferred on those who 
were absent “ inter castra militanterm” 

Aug. 25. Monday. During the past two months I have 
been so absorbed in professional and public duties and by 
the great contest now going on in our midst that I have made 
but few entries to mark the flight of time. The fourth of 
July I passed at Mr. Kingsbury’s and my family have been 
at Watertown whither I have occasionally made visits. My 
principal amusement has been in various excursions about 
the country to Hartford, Litchfield, Newtown and to the 
adjacent Lakes fishing. Saturday on my return from a fish¬ 
ing excursion with Mr. Cutler I received the intelligence 
of the decease of my old and long esteemed friend Capt. 
Geo. Coggishall. My conscience reproaches me that I 
have not seen him for a long time. He was always kind 
to me and the first and most valued friend I made when 
I went to Brooklyn, a law student. Fie was a native of Mil¬ 
ford in this state (Conn.) His father commanded a priva- 



teer during the Revolution, and his son one in the war of 
1812. As a boy he was on board of the ship that took out 
the news of Washington’s death to Spain. He must be now 
about 78 years of age. He was a man of sound judgment, 
tender hearted, passionate, warmly attached to his friends, 
enterprising, persevering and late in life became an author 
b} r publishing some of his voyages and a History of Ameri¬ 
can Privateers. He was warmly and wholly devoted to the 
cause of his country. He had lived for many years in 
France and was fond of French literature. Perhaps I am 
indebted to him in no small degree for the development 
of my own taste in that respect. As a man he certainly ex¬ 
ercised no small controlling influence upon my course of 
life, but he has gone as others and as all must go. Vale. Vale. 

Monday Sept. 2. The tenth anniversary celebrated at 
Watertown, a few family friends who were at the wedding, 
dining with us and leaving the customary souvenirs of tin. 

Oct. 13. The holding back of winter saves many a good 
soldier from sickness. Blankets are scarce. 

Thursday, Oct 31, 1861. 

New York. 

My Dear Wife: 

There have been no great changes since you migrated 
to pastoral scenes. Stocks have risen, and the newspapers 
state what they term reliable news. 

When I sat down excessively hungry to the souvenir you 
brought me from Watertown my heart smote me and I 
asked Ann upon what you dined, when she said that you 
lunched at Mrs. Randolph’s and I felt relieved. 

I am so much engrossed that I have no leisure to see 
the sights, but if I had I would entertain you with stories 
of all the dramatic, musical, and artistic exhibitions now 
open for the delight and instruction of our benighted fel¬ 



1 1 ' 



My present mental emotion, is whether I shall stay in 
and read the last number of Barber's Reports, or save a 
fine of a dollar and go at 8 o'clock which is close at hand 
to the meeting of the Committee on admissions at the Cen¬ 
tury. I know your prudent soul would be refreshed at my 
saving up such an amount of silver, and you may depend 
upon my going. 

I am finding favor with the ladies in your absence. A 
pumpkin pie has been sent to me. Ah! if I was one of what 
Miss Hayt calls — hem — a minister, I should wallow in 
doughnuts and cambric habiliments. But the sisters seem 
rather chilly to poor limbs of the law, and I trust I feel 
truly grateful for such favors as pumpkin pies. 

I hope to come up some time next week to see you all 
and especially to appreciate the immense improvements that 
you have had made on the place in my absence. 

Give my love to Mother, kiss the children for me and 
tell them I should like to have them come down and make 
me a visit. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

New York, 

Nov. 8, 1861. 

My Dear Wife: 

We have news of another Missouri victory, but to me 
it reads very much like another bloody repulse. I hope we 
shall yet have some cheering intelligence. Sanford again 
writes me almost discouraged by the bad news from home, 
but he had not then heard of Bull's Bluff. The Independent 
seems to be preparing its readers and party to back down, 
after having so materially contributed to bring about the 

I have seen nothing of the Randolphs, but shall very 
likely call there this evening. 


d moil awan bnd $dl yd bognuoasib Jaornlc Dm gDiiiw 

. ,, ( * i 


Ann is having the carpets put down, and preparing for 
your advent. I am so busy I have no time for reading, and 
hardly for writing you a line. 

I was glad to hear from you this morning, and trust you 
are all well. The News from the fleet is not favorable, it 
seems some of the vessels were lost, and on the whole people 
feel gloomy but hope for better tidings. 

Kiss the children for me. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

(William Whitelaw, the gardener, went to the war and 

Sunday P. M. Nov. ioth, 1861. 

My Dear Wife: 

Yesterday I dined at the Maison Dore, a dinner given 
by Ezra Goodridge to his groomsmen, Mr. Sherwood, 
Randolph, and myself, so you may easily conceive I did not 
rise very early this morning. After service I met Mr. and 
Mrs. Cyrus Curtis on the 5th Av. who forced me home 
to dine with them. On leaving there I met your Uncle 
Henry, with his son, William,* who arrived last night and 
is looking finely, and the former went with me to Dr. Tyng’s 

I have just come from Louisa’s (Mrs. Henry Scudder) 
where I took tea with Prof. Peck and Dr. Metcalf. He 
inquired about you and Willy. Peck and the two Scudders 
are to dine with me tomorrow. 

People are depressed here about the continual bad news 
from the war, and fear that worse intelligence is at hand. 

Give my love to Mother. Kiss the children for me and 
believe me as ever, 

Yours most affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

1 • 

♦Augusta Ogden’s father. 


[1861 and 1862 ] 


Mrs. Curtis is at Church, the children are busied with 
gifts that Santa Claus has brought them. We go to Brook¬ 
lyn to dine at Sam’l. McLean's. War weighs heavily upon 
this country and England threatens us with her sword. 
May Providence restore to us the blessing of Peace. 

“ The Sun,” Saturday, Dec. 28th, 1861. 



William H. Anthon, Judge Advocate of this state, who has 
been preparing for the consideration of the Legislature some 
amendments to our Military laws, has addressed a letter to Mr. 
Curtis, President of the Board of Education, asking his opinion 
as to the advisability of adding military education as a branch of 
instruction in our public schools. The reply of Mr. Curtis takes 
strong grounds in favor of the step, and suggests that such acts 
be passed by the Legislature as shall tend to this result. He very 
rightfully claims that those educated at the public expense should 
be willing and enabled to bear their share in defense of the coun¬ 
try and its institutions, when assailed. 

Saturday, Nov. 15. It will freeze tonight. The first 
frost will find my artemesias in bloom. God keep our 
hundreds of thousands of blanketless soldiers who sleep 
in tents warm. Mrs. Curtis is delayed in Conn, by the ill¬ 
ness of the children, and I am half sick from over work. 
The news of the capture of Beaufort affords some comfort 
in these times of general depression. 

New Year’s, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 1862. This was a 
charming winter day, mild and sunny. Made 65 calls 
and passed the evening at the Century discussing the un¬ 
happy condition of our poor country. 

Sunday, Feb. 9. The winter has been mild but very 
wet. The war as yet moves slowly on. Gen. Scott, whom 
I met at dinner yesterday at Gen. Davies’, says there will 
be stirring events in the next thirty days. The late suc¬ 
cesses at Mill Spring and Fort Henry I trust are happy 
omens. Gen. Swift formed one of the party yesterday, 
a vigorous, fine looking octogenarian, but much changed 




from his portrait at the City Hall, painted for the City in 
1814. He now resembles the pictures of Bishop White. 

Friday, March 28. Saturday the 8th. I went to Wash¬ 
ington. Monday I saw the marching off of several regi¬ 
ments in pursuit of the rebels who had left Manasses. 
The appearance of the troops with their earnest faces, com¬ 
plete equipments and knapsacks and little French tents on 
their shoulders, indicated that they were not taken by sur¬ 
prise. Tuesday and Thursday I visited our fortifications 
and the rest of the time I loitered pleasantly away at the 
Capitol and in a round of visits. 

Willard’s Hotel, 
Washington March 9th, 1862. 

My Dear Wife: 

I arrived at Willard’s about 7 a. m. being fortunate to 
get a small, neat, room in consequence of my having tele¬ 

My trunk was delayed by mistake until now (10:30 
a. m.) so that I have only just made myself happy with a 
change of toilet and bath. I have seen Peck who is here 
and Woodruff of Hartford, ditto of Litchfield, and Mr. 
Morse of Waterbury. Prof. Peck will be here some days. 
It is too warm for a fire in my room and the day is charming. 
I intend to sally out for a walk. My head does not trou¬ 
ble me as yet, and I hope to put the trouble to flight. 

Your Uncle Thomas and Mansfield were here last 
night, but are over the river today. The rumour is that 
Leesburgh is taken, and that an advance will be made to¬ 
morrow. Young Henry is boarding at Willard’s as he is 
on the Board of Examiners. I hope this will find you all 
well. I am going out to find a Church. 

Love to all, 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 



Forty miles south of New York, the snow disappeared and 
the roads about here appear to be about one half settled. 
The Sanitary Commission were having their troubles. 
Dr. Bellows and Mr. Olmstead. 



March 12, 1862. 

My Dear Wife: 

After writing to you on Monday, I amused myself call¬ 
ing on Dr. Bellows, and Mr. Olmstead, at the office of 
the Sanitary Commission, and in the evening I went to 
Mr. Coyle's. His wife resembles Robert Edmond of Rich¬ 
mond, their oldest son is Senior year in college and seems to 
be a bright lad. They have a daughter 15, and two younger 
daughters 10 and 12, I should judge. I met their nephew, 
John Edmond, there, who is a fine looking, intelligent young 
man. I passed the evening very agreeably and at 10 J4 
p. m. made for home, having accepted an invitation to take 
tea there at 7 Yz last night, thinking I could get through in 
time to call on Mrs. McClellen. 

Yesterday I crossed over into Virginia and saw some 
of the effects of war, fences and trees chopped and burned, 
houses dismantled, etc. The roads are almost entirely dry 
and the weather clear and warm. 

Love to all, 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 


Thursday, March 13th, 1862. 

My Dear Wife: 

By some irregularity in the distribution of letters at 
the Hotel, I received your letters of Sunday and Monday 
yesterday afternoon and in the evening your letter of Tues¬ 
day, which has relieved me of very considerable apprehen- 




sion. I hope Randolph’s case will be the last of it, and 
that things will go well at Watertown. 

If Willy's difficulty is nothing more serious than his 
teeth, I shall feel very much relieved, and I confide in not 
taking drugs, and youth and fresh air. 

I shall return either tomorrow or next day, probably at 
ii p. m. Saturday, leaving here in the n a. m. train. 

Yesterday after writing you, I walked with Peck over 
the long bridge into Virginia and inspected some of the 
works. We called on our return on Mrs. Geo. Woodruff, 
our member from Litchfield, and after that I had a very 
pleasant call on Mrs. Dixon. 

In the evening I called again on Mr. and Mrs. Foster, 
saw some trophies, swords, etc., that had been taken from 
the rebels at Roanoke Island. During the evening I met 
many persons whom I knew or was introduced to,— Mr. 
and Miss Parsons of Hartford. She had met me on New 
Year’s at the Godkins. The Woodruffs, Mrs. Alfred Eley, 
Mr. Brown, M. C. from Providence and Senator Anthony, 
and I passed part of the evening with Gov. Buckingham 
of Connecticut, a very agreeable man, and who wishes me 
to see Henry Kingsbury, or to see him himself, about some 
Conn, military matters. I also was introduced to Mrs. Gen. 
McDowell from Troy originally. Do you know her? 

This morning I breakfasted with Judge Peabody, and 
having some cold I concluded not to drive out with him to 
Fairfax Court House. 

Thus I have given you a narrative of the way in which 
I dissipated the leisure hours here, beguiled neither by cards, 
whiskey, tobacco or ladies’ smiles. 

This evening I go to see the McClellen’s and paying 
one or two p. p. c. visits conclude my Metropolitan pleas¬ 

With love to all I am yours, , 

Most affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Don’t hesitate to telegraph me if you only wish me to return. 


[ iS6z ] 


.Yesterday was a most charming day, 

but now though it is warm, some rain falls in little showers, 
then comes a little struggling sunshine, so that the mud in¬ 
creases and thus embarrasses the army movements. 

It does me good to see the soldiers that have been wait¬ 
ing months for today, March through Penn. Ave. in the 
highest spirits, even the little hide bound, weather-beaten 
horses that have been exposed all winter, caper and frisk 
in front of Willard's. Every window is open and the ladies 
have been watching all day, and taking leave and shedding 
tears has been the rule and not the exception. God knows 
how many of the fine, young officers that filled Willard’s 
last night and before morning had to march, will ever come 
back again. There are no conventionalities now, the heart 
speaks through the lips, and young ladies waive ceremony. 

I have seen Dr. Bellows and Mr. Olmstead and I think 
the Sanitary Commission will soon have more on their 
hands than they have ever had. No change to the better 
can be effected here, until calamity comes, and they are 
yet struggling in vain to have the medical departments re¬ 

Capt. Wilkes ridiculed on Saturday to Dr. Bellows the 
idea that the iron sheathed vessel of the rebels at Norfolk 
could effect anything. Old commodores have thus far con¬ 
trived to break up all plans for iron protected vessels, ex¬ 
cept in a few isolated instances. The last 60 in fact, 30 days, 
shows that this contest will be decided by iron vessels. I 
am writing to you a long letter, you need not read it except 
at leisure, but I thought I would give you the record of my 
vacation, and show you how well I am employed. 

I wish you were here, and if you can come do so, tele¬ 
graphing me in the morning, so I can meet you. I have 
been writing so long that I have lost the mail. 

Affectionately yours, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 




*P. S. Don’t be surprised if I turn soldier, my heart is 
in the fight and if I get a good chance I am in for it. 

Friday the 14th. I returned to New York not much re¬ 
lieved from the oppression about my head for which the 
physicians sent me away from New York. I have worked 
hard this winter and of late have had to lie by a little and 
I intend to do so more. 

Death is busy in the ranks of our profession, war takes 
some but overworked brains kill the most. Poor John Foot 
died on the 13th. Another victim of rebellion. 

Sunday, April 27th. I add another name to my mor¬ 
tuary record. Mrs. Cutler, the step mother of my father’s 
first wife, whom I have called grand-mother from child¬ 
hood and with whom is associated much that is pleasant 
and agreeable. She was a handsome bright, blackeyed 
old lady, amiable, clear-minded, judicious and impressed 
me always by the quiet dignity of her manners and the in¬ 
teresting character of her conversation. 

Saturday, June 7. The war goes bravely on, but alas, 
our streets are thronged with hundreds of crippled, wound¬ 
ed and sick soldiers that arrive daily from the South. 

Thursday, Aug. 14. The war and the impending draft 
are chief topics of conversation and public interest. I see 
no hopes of peace until one of the parties is utterly exhaust¬ 
ed and I believe that will be the rebels. Great gloom and 
depression prevails here in consequence of our reverses. 
Gold today is quoted at 116 premium. I have passed most of 
the summer thus far in Watertown and have made some few 
excursions about the state and one as far as Newport. I 
attended Trinity College Commencement and to my sur¬ 
prise was honored with the Degree of L.L.D. Most of 
the students have volunteered as soldiers and the number 
is less than it has been. 

•Having a wife, four children and his mother, how could he go. 




New York, Oct. 8/62. 

My Dear Wife, 

I have visited evenings, as I could not read and wished 
to make the wisest disposition of my flying hours. 

Monday P. M. I called on your Uncle William* and 
also on your Uncle Nathan's family. 

The grapes were most opportune, acceptable and deli¬ 
cious. Accept my thanks. 

Last evening I passed at the meeting of the local Board 
of School officers, fighting ineffectually to prevent wrong, 
wastefulness and injustice. Things are becoming so bad 
here that ultimately there will be no protection for prop¬ 
erty under our present system, I fear. 

Yours most affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Sunday, Jan. 18th, 1863. On Wednesday I was re¬ 
elected Pres, of the Board of Education and as usual de¬ 
livered an Inaugural. The Tuesday previous I attended 
the wedding of Wm. Scovill at Hudson, all went off pleas¬ 
antly. I am now laid up with a severe sprain of the ankle 
but hope to be out in a few days. The war fills us with 
grief and humiliation. 

Sunday, Feb. 8. On Tuesday evening Feb. 3rd, another 
son was added to my household and I am grateful to Provi¬ 
dence that both Mother and child are doing well. (F. 
Kingsbury Curtis) f The war weighs heavily upon us, and 
the prospect before us is sad indeed. 

Friday, April 3. The first fair beautiful day of spring. 
I have just returned from Newtown whither I accompanied 
‘ the remains of my kind old friend Miss Hayt. 

Wednesday, July 15. My family have been domiciled 
at Watertown since the middle of May and I have been 
making some improvements and repairs at the old Home- 

•Smith, brother of her step-mother. 

fNamed for my aunt’s husband. None of our family names are perpetuated. 


[1862 and 1863] 

stead. I have not brought many suits of late, the deprecia¬ 
tion of the currency operating in such a way as to prevent 

The war drags its slow length along though we have 
been much enlivened by successes at Gettysburg, Vicks- 
burgh and Port Hudson during the past few days. At 
the moment everything is depressed and all patriotic men 
pained, if not disheartened, by the violence and outrages 
of a mob in our midst for the past three days, in opposition 
to the enforcement of the conscription. Mrs. Curtis left 
Watertown with me yesterday morning to come to New 
York. At Waterbury, W. L. heard there was a riot the after¬ 
noon before in the City. At Bridgeport we found railway 
and telegraphic communication cut off. Mrs. Curtis re¬ 
turned after several hours delay and replacing the track 
at Mount Vernon where it had been torn up by some local 
rascals. We reached the Harlem Bridge; this was closed. 
The passengers procured a small steamboat to transport 
them to Peck slip, thence I proceeded to the Academy of 
Music where I should have presided at the Commencement 
then to have been held, but which was postponed. On my 
way up I met citizens armed and drawing cannon through 
the streets and upon my arrival at my house I found the 
servants almost overcome with terror. The mob had just 
fired the Station House near me, which burned unchecked, 
and great numbers of rioters had been shot during the day in 
the vicinity. God help our country which has to drain cup 
after cup of the bitterest humiliation. 

Mrs. W. E. Curtis, 


106 Broadway, July 16/63. 

My Dear Wife, 

I expected to have heard of your safe arrival at Water¬ 
bury this morning but not having done so, I suppose the 
mails are cut off. 


[ 1863 ] 

No trains ran yesterday. The rioting still continues 
and as plunder appears to be their main object it may con¬ 
tinue for some time to come. We are pretty near the scene 
of heavy fighting and firing, and I am glad you did not 
come down. 

I suppose I shall be on duty tonight, as we are organiz¬ 
ing to protect our houses in the vicinity. Mr. Stearns and 
Mr. Tyng seem to have disappeared. The former got a 
phaeton on Tuesday afternoon and with Mrs. Stearns re¬ 
treated to New Jersey, but has returned and was on duty in 
the 20th ward last night. 

I was so tired from being up Tuesday night that I slept 
through the infernal din last night, my last recollection is 
of two gangs of ruffians marching by singing “ Oh by joy¬ 
ful, joyful, etc.” 

The cowardice, and running away, displayed by most of 
the wealthiest portion of the community, is a great encour¬ 
agement to these rascals to continue to plunder. I think 
we have now seen the worst of it, as the soldiers are coming 
back to the city and I see the stages and cars are commenc¬ 
ing to run today. 

With much love 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

New York, July 18, 1863. 

Mrs. W. E. Curtis, 


My Dear Wife, 

The receipt of your note of yesterday relieved me of 
great anxiety. The words “ all well ” at the close of the 
letter conveyed most grateful intelligence. 


Last night it rained fearfully and the city was quiet, but 
all about us it was patrolled by the military who were for 
the first time not fired on in the Avenues. 



1 J863] 

I saw Gov. Seymour at Head Quarters this morning at 
the St. Nicholas. He looks pale and worn, but has labored 
most assiduously and vigilantly to allay the passions of the 
mob. He says that is now all over. I hope so, but there 
are hundreds of rifles taken from the armory in 2nd Ave. 
yet concealed along the 1st Ave. and which may be used 
at any day. 

Mr. McLean has returned. I told you yesterday. I 
saw him this morning and he seems in good spirits and very 
busy. Mr. Randolph has called to have me pass Sunday 
with him at Spuytendivel and I think I shall go up this 
evening and return Monday, as Margaret says she is “ no 
longer afraid much.” 

They will send me down if I am wanted tomorrow. Not 
a dollar of our property and not a colored school has been 
lost or burned. 

I shall not come up before Wednesday. If you come 
down Tuesday morning I will stay over until you go up. 
You can tell when you get Monday morning’s papers if it 
will be safe for you to come to the city. I think it will 

Love to all. Kiss the children. Tell me how Alla gets 

Yours afTectionatelv, 

J 7 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Sunday, Oct. 11/63. 

98 E. 15th St. 

Mrs. W. E. Curtis, 


My Dear Wife — 

Yesterday I dined with Mr. Cyrus Curtis who is alone 
at his house. This morning Frank Goodridge was in our 
pew and an unknown lady who I think possibly considers it 
as her exclusive domain. Your Uncle Charles and wife ap¬ 
peared during the morning service, and shortly before or 



after them your Uncle Nathan and wife took a seat with me. 
They seemed to be pleased with the sermon and inquired 
after you and the children. 

I must tell you about the reception. I saw many people 
there I knew, Miss Haynes and Miss Darragh, Mrs. God- 
kin, Mrs. Hutchins and Mrs. Clift, Dr. Webster, Mr. Kirk¬ 
land, Judge Sutherland Hilton, Mr. Godkin, Charles Brace, 
Dr. Lieber, and other gentlemen too numerous to mention. 
The ladies I met inquired about you. I was invited to make 
up the assortment, and so I amused myself highly. The 
quadrille after supper was opened by Sir Alexander Milne, 
a Scotchman 6 feet and 3 inches, thin and sixty, in brilliant 
English uniform, gold lace and epaulettes, star on his left 
breast, and a broad red ribbon around his neck. And Mrs. 
Cyrus Field, I think. Mr. David Dudley Field danced 
with Lady Milne, a fat, fair and forty, well preserved good 
looking English woman. Admiral Farragut was the 
brightest looking officer in the room and though near sixty, 
and dressed in the simple frock coat and sholder straps of 
our uniform, danced the best and looked the best of any 
officer in the room. 

I had some conversation with the Russian Admiral, who 
with his officers made a brilliant appearance. Many Dip¬ 
lomatic and Consular uniforms were there, and in fact we 
black coats were in the minority. The refreshments con¬ 
sisted of punch, ices and I believe some wines. It was 
nearly two o’clock when I reached home in my two legged 
coach and stick. 

Mrs. Godkin said that they lived at I believe No. 37 E. 
19th Street. Mrs. Clift seemed to be as much admired and 
as much au courant as any lady there. Among the celebri¬ 
ties were Mrs. Gen’l. Banks, Mrs. Marshall O. Roberts, and 
others too numerous to mention. 

I was about as much interested in looking at a tall thin, 
white haired old man, whose nose and chin almost met, and 
who was as straight as an arrow, from Tennessee, Amos Ken- 



il86 3 ] 

dall, who has had his name, in his day, in the newspapers as 
much as any man in the Country and who you recollect (I 
am to young to remember it) was one of the Cabinet of Gen. 

Now, I have told you all about the reception, so that you 
are better off than if you had been there. 

My head is more comfortable, and I have twice this week 
slept by taking one of the little pills Dr. Thomas prescribed 
about a year ago. 

I am hard at work again, and I am reaping some of the 
fruits. Was paid $700 last week, and should send you a 
check if I were at the office. I enclose you the check you 
sent to me, as you may need it. Endorse it before you use 
it. I had no letter yesterday and have just returned form 
a fruitless visit to the P. O. today. I hope you are well and 
will bring you a Dictionary. Give my love to the boys and 
say I am glad they are doing well at school. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Monday Nov. 30th. Snow falls today, the first of the 
season and covers the geraniums and artemesias now flour¬ 
ishing in the garden. Tomorrow I am again before the 
people a candidate for re-election to the Board of Educa¬ 
tion. I rather hope I shall be defeated and I feel quite 
confident I shall be. 

Death of My Mother. 

Dec. 13, 1863. On Wednesday afternoon I received 
a telegram from Doctor Munger that my “ mother was very 
low.” It was too late for the evening train. I left by the 
morning train. At Waterbury, Mr. Kingsbury met me with 
the sad intelligence that she died at half past two a. m. I 
was too late, but on my arrival at Watertown, her remains 
yet preserved a life-like countenance. They told me that 
she seemed to be improving until Tuesday night and there¬ 
fore did not send me word, that her mind seemed occasional¬ 
ly to wander Wednesday evening, that during the day she 



[.1863 and 1864 ] 

was distressed for breath, but about midnight fell asleep and 
passed away without further suffering. She supposed she 
would die, and Tuesday sat up in bed for 3 hours and ac¬ 
curately reckoned up her accounts, and made many little 
memoranda of matters for my convenience, and not being 
advised of Mrs. Curtis’ illness, she every day watched the 
stage and post, expecting a letter or that she would come, 
and at each disappointment expressed her apprehension that 
she was ill. 

The telegram was sent, so that if it had been delivered in 
season, I should have reached there about 8 o’clock in the 
evening. Before she died, she inquired at every sound if 
that was I coming and towards the last fancied she heard 
the wheels of the carriage bringing me. But alas! we were 
to meet in life no more. 

She was buried yesterday by the side of my Father. The 
services were performed in part at the church where the 
Rev. Dr. Lewis preached a sermon. My son Willy and 
a niece, Mrs. Burdick, who came by chance upon a visit 
a few hours before the funeral, and myself, were all of her 
blood who came to the funeral and we stood together, as at 
noon with the snow fresh upon the ground, and the clouds 
dark and moist above us, her coffin was slowly lowered into 
the grave prepared for it. 

Thus passed away one, who was by nature kind, tender 
and affectionate and from whom I never received a blow or 
an angry word, and to whom I am under immeasurable ob¬ 
ligation. Farewell Mother! Parents and childhood’s 
home are among the shadows of the past. 


A clear, cold beautiful day, drove with Mrs. Curtis and 
the children in Central Park and stopped to witness the 
crowds skating upon the various Lakes. 

Monday, Jan. 4, 1864. Mrs. Curtis and Willy and nurse 
sailed by the steamer Corsica at noon to-day for Nassau. 




A little snow has quietly fallen since but no wind has sprung 
up and I trust they will have a pleasant passage to a warm 
climate and that Mrs. Curtis will return restored to health. 
I should have liked to have gone with them but my en¬ 
gagements here forbid. 

Journey to Nassau. 

Monday, Feb. 29, 1864. Mrs. Curtis and Willy being 
at Nassau, and invalids, I left at 3 p. m. today on the British 
Steamer Corsica, to go down and pass ten days there, and 
make them a visit. The sky was overcast, air cold and raw, 
and a snow storm threatening. The little propellor, with¬ 
out freight and a round bottom would evidently roll badly, 
but fortunately the sea was smooth and though crowded 
with passengers, three in a stateroom, we passed a com¬ 
fortable night. 

Friday, March 4. Sunshine, hot air, and a heavy sea 
\yhich gradually diminished. 10 a. m. saw the island of 
Eleuthera to the east of our course. 3 p. m. arrived off 
Nassau. 4:30 p. m. crossed the bar and anchored. Could 
see the bottom at 60 feet. Island covered with green shrub¬ 
bery to the water’s edge, except about the town which is 
filled with gardens and stone houses surrounded by piazzas. 
Back of these rise the heights crowned by forts, the Govern¬ 
ment House and the Hotel. 

The harbor was full of steamers painted grey and fitted 
out to run the blockade to Wilmington. Saw one of them 
steaming out as we came in sight of Nassau. The negro 
boatmen fought, brandished knives and vociferated oaths 
and after hour’s delay and being splashed with water I 
landed, reached the hotel and had the unspeakable happi¬ 
ness of finding Mary Ann and Willy well. 

Saturday, March 5. Clear, hot, mercury 73 in the 
shade. Drove out in the morning and afternoon with Mrs. 
Curtis. Saw palm trees loaded with cocoanuts, bananas, 
oranges, etc. growing in profusion. Called on Mrs. Leer 
with Mrs. Curtis. 



Sunday March 6th. Attended service at the Cathe¬ 
dral, and heard a sermon from one of my late fellow pas¬ 
sengers, The Bishop of Nassau, Dr. Venables. Walked out 
to a negro village with Dr. Kirkwood in the afternoon and 
in the evening to the esplanade with Mrs. Curtis. Listened 
to the music in the cathedral. 

Monday March 7. Drove to the lakes with Col. 
Davies, Dr. Cummings and some other gentlemen. Walked 
on the shores, gathered some varieties of orchidaceous 
plants. Dined in a piazza of a ruined house in the midst 
of orange and lemon trees struggling for life with the en¬ 
croaching forest which now covers what once was a sugar 
estate. Returned at dusk bringing with us some boughs 
laden with oranges and lemons, also a mahogany bough. 
The undecayed portions of the piazza were of wood which 
seems in this locality to be very durable. 

Tuesday March 8. Drove to Foxhills with Mrs. C. 
and Willy, a settlement of native Africans. Visited a rich 
looking school of young Congoes. They are very indus¬ 
trious, bought some shaddocks and sappodilloes of the 
women. Returned in rain which fell moderately till 

Wednesday March 9. Visited the caves about ten miles 
to the westward with Mrs. C. and Willy and found them 
interesting and the bottom covered with guano from the 
numerous bats and birds that have had lodgings in them for 
centuries. Gathered wild flowers and some seeds to try at 
Watertown, also some of the small red beans growing wild 
from which the negroes make scarlet beads. Ate some of 
the fruit of the prickly pear, not good. Upon our return 
called upon Mrs. Leer, Gov. Bailey and lady and upon the 
Bishop and Lady. 

Thursday March 10. Drove with Mrs. C. and Willy 
over a stony road through forests of pine and palmettoes 
to the South Bay. A scene of wildness and desolation and 
with no vestiges of civilization, except fragment of a wreck 


' • 

{ 1864 ] 

lying upon the beach. Brought home some shells. At¬ 
tended a pleasant party at Judge Doyle’s in the evening 
where I met many agreeable residents of the Island. 

Friday March n. Went with Judge Doyle and visited 
the public schools and public buildings and library and 
court rooms and also some handsome stone houses he is 
erecting. Dined at Dr. Kirkwood’s and remained late 
playing whist. Fourteen gentlemen at table, among them 
Judge Doyle, a very intelligent colored barrister, Mr. Dil- 
let, and the Col. of the ist West Indian Regiment. 

Saturday March 12. Drove with Mrs. C. and Willy to 
the Eastward, visited the market. Called on Dr. Kirkwood 
and Judge Doyle. Drove out with Mr. and Mrs. Darling 
after dinner and passed the evening with them. Was 
struck by the immense size of the rooms of his house. 

Sunday March 13. The past three days and to-day 
mercury 60 in the shade. Called on Judge Leer with 
Willy. Walked in the evening on the piazza of the hotel. 
Beautiful moonlight. Made preparations to leave in the 

Monday, March 14. Corsica anchored off Nassau at 
daylight. Went on board at 10:30. Sailed at 2 p. m. 
having waited till then for the mails. Weather warm, sea 
tranquil. Sailed near Abaco Island and lights during the 
dusk and the evening. Passed a pleasant night with heavy 

Friday, March 18. Land in sight at 8 a. m. Pilot 
came on board at 9 a. m. Wind South, sea calm. I p. m. 
off Staten Island. 2:30 p. m. at Jersey City. Hurried my 
trunks through the custom house officer’s inspection and 
reached home at 3 *.30 p. m. where I received the sad news 
of the death of little Willy Kingsbury the day after I left 
and whom I had seen two days before never looking better. 
Found Mr. and Miss M. V. Kingsbury at the house. 
Thank God, children all well. 



106 Broadway, New York. 

Monday, April 18/64. 

My Dear Wife, 

Since I last wrote I have heard from you again by the 
Corsica, and am glad to hear that you and Willy, though 
suffering from cold, had thus far excaped every thing more 

I am daily grateful to Providence that our children 
keep well. We have not had a doctor at the house but 
twice since you left, and all of them are doing so well that 
I shall keep them here until the first week in May. But 
when I see what I have written it alarmed me and I expect 
I shall catch it for having remarked upon it. 

Mr. H. S. Sanford is in the City. Ke dined with me 
one day last week and wishes his kindest remembrances con¬ 
veyed to you, as, my Dear, everybody else who knows you 

(Then follows a great deal about the Kingsburys and 
mama’s baby who was staying there, also news about Aunt 
Maria Davies and the Randolphs.) 

Miss Sophia Goodridge I suppose is made happy by 
Fred’s success, as the boys tell me he is to be married in a 
few weeks and go to Europe. The lady is Miss Grosvenor, 
the wealthiest heiress in the Country, and in addition to 
being a millionaire, is beloved by every one as being a most 
amiable, and highly cultivated, and intelligent lady. The 
courtship has been an affair of years, and the marriage is 
one of hearts. I observe Miss Taintor, a Hartford heiress, 
is visiting there, and that casually the young deacon that 
is to be, in June, has a little vacation from his studies and 
is here. Mr. R.* has bought the place next the one he 
occupied last summer ‘and which was then occupied by 
Mr. W. E. Dodge. This Mr. R. says in view of Archi¬ 
tects, masons, etc. that Madam has sent there, will keep 
them all summer happy in a state of repairing. 

•Mr. Randolph. 



[i 86 4 ] 

The fair for the Sanitary Commission you doubtless 
read much of. I have been there twice. The first time I 
went at 11 A. M. and saw the pictures, a splendid collec¬ 
tion. Miss Edwards, Miss E. Willard, Mrs. Clark Mary 
Hopkins that was, Miss Wilson, Miss Perkins, and so many 
people were there that I knew, that I did not stay long. 
In the evening I went to the shanty before the Everett 
House where the Hartford table is, and where I saw Mrs. 
Bull, Hutchins, and Churchill. Among other things they 
stuck me with an embroidered baby blanket at $10, though 
I assured them that we had no use for it. I shall mail 
this and write again before the steamer leaves. All well 
and I hope you are. Kiss Willy and accept a thousand for 

Yours must affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Friday, August 18th. I returned last evening from 
the Thousand Island where we had been for nearly two 
weeks. Mrs. Curtis enjoyed the fishing and rowing among 
the Islands. We passed each day in this way with our 
friends, Dr. and Mrs. Thomas, the boatman cooking our 
fish on some pleasant island where we would land in the 
shade to dine. 

Note by Elizabeth Curtis 1925 

(I have dwelt so much on Connecticut that although it 
is eighty-three years since my father came to New York 
there is scarcely space for a true picture of the family life 
after his marriage. It was always full of color and never 
dull or stodgy. From the first my parents knew interesting 
people, and in those days New York was so small, that an 
attractive young couple was not lost sight of. Notwith¬ 
standing all of mother's babies, she went to a number of, as 
she described them, delightful parties. At one at the home 
of Mrs. Jacqueline Smith’s mother, Mrs. Campbell, they 
were asked to spend the evening and see a statue recently 

293 > 


[ i86 4 ] 

sent from Rome. After looking at it and meeting about 
thirty people, tea and thin bread and butter were passed at 
ten o’clock and at eleven all went home. “ In those days,” 
she said “ people knew how to talk ” The boys as they 
grew old enough were sent to the red brick Quaker school 
on Stuyvesant Square, and when the City disagreed with 
them they were packed off to Watertown where the house¬ 
keeper-governess Miss Powell and the old nurse, Anne 
Laurence looked after them. My grandmother taught 
Will his Greek alphabet when he was four, which beat our 
record for precosity. 

After i860 my mother was sent to the South (Nassau, 
Aiken or Charleston) every winter for her health and she 
usually took one of the older boys with her and sometimes 
one of the babies. My father’s letters to her are delightful 
and make one see what a thoughtful, affectionate man he 
was. In those I include here to give an idea of his life out¬ 
side his practice, I have omitted the long accounts of the 
activities of each child and the domestic details. The at¬ 
mosphere at home was always one of great hospitality. 
Each of the five boys seemed to bring back one or two 
friends for every meal. I can just remember the place 
seething with youths of all sizes. 

The 20th Street house was very stately with high 
ceilings, Italian decoration and red damask hangings. The 
day my mother gave a reception or dance for her debutante 
niece, Alice Kingsbury, I was hurried into a little knitted 
jacket and taken down to see someone before the company 
arrived. There were certain tricks they always made me 
do and the boys taught me slang before I could speak. I 
remember distinctly when about three sitting on my father's 
lap and feeling so safe because he was big and tall. That, 
then, is the picture, — a big distinguished father with a cul¬ 
tivated voice and grand manner, a small charming mother 
and five splendid sons. The two little girls were not taken 
very seriously, the boys were what counted. 



.b'Mnuoo jfiriv/ airw 8’{od aril /(kuoiTse '{lav 

[■ tS6 4 ] 


September 29th. Forty-one years of age. I passed 
the day at Watertown with my boys, the feeble health of 
the mother compelling her some two weeks since to seek 
the milder climate of New York. The immense sacrifice 
of life produced by the war seems to create a general dis¬ 
regard of Time and Life, which I so far feel, that I have 
ceased to read over the records of my birthdays when a new 
one occurs, and as year after year hurries me to the expira¬ 
tion of my life lease, I learn to look upon it as the event 
which is hourly happening to most of my friends and neigh¬ 
bors, with the briefest note and warning. 

Wednesday, December 28th. I have today followed to 
the grave the remains of my old preceptor in the law, Wm. 
Curtis Noyes. I was a student in his office when I com¬ 
menced this volume. Thursday last I met him at a meeting 
of the New England Society, he was elected President and 
was present at the dinner in the evening. I thought I 
never saw him appear in better health. The next morning 
he was prostrated by apoplexy when arising and remained 
insensible until his death Sunday noon. He was only 59 
years of age, but his brain gave way under the pressure of 
unremitting labor for many years. He knew nothing of 
rest or recreation; his cases, his library, his family and im¬ 
mediate friends engrossed every thought and every moment. 
Learned, clear headed, calm, amiable, courteous, perse¬ 
vering, conscientious, he stood in the foremost ranks of the 
profession, without genius and without early advantages, 
but endowed with admirable perseverance and a sound 

Friday, December 30th. I have just returned from at¬ 
tending the funeral at St. George’s, of Mrs. Scudder. She 
was one of the bridesmaids when I was married, Louise 
Davies, and the first of the company of eight that has fallen. 
Gifted with beauty, genius, and the graces of a Christian 



character, she leaves an affectionate husband and five little 
children to bewail her loss. 

I was at the meeting of the bar this morning in refer¬ 
ence to the death of Mr. Noyes. Bradford, Field, G. S. 
Curtis, Vanderpoel, Brady, and O’Conor spoke. 

Monday, January 2nd, 1865. The New Year's Holiday 
was today observed. Mrs. Curtis, Sanford and nurse, left 
in the steamer Corsica early in the morning for Nassau. 
God send them a pleasant passage. On my return from the 
steamer I made calls throughout the City. Dined at Mrs. 
Randolph's. Passed the day pleasantly. 

Monday, April 10th. The papers this morning an¬ 
nounced the welcome intelligence that General Robert E. 
Lee had surrendered the rebel army of Virginia and that 
Peace is at hand. A week ago we received news of the 
capture of Richmond and Petersburgh, and I earnestly 
hope and pray that a few weeks more will end this bloody 
war. The Government has had a long series of military 
successes, and the Rebellion must succumb. Mrs. Curtis, 
who is still in Nassau, will be delighted with the news. 
We have had a dreary, cold, severe winter, and during Jan¬ 
uary and February I was chiefly confined indoors by a se¬ 
vere cold, and even yet my throat is so sensitive that I dread 
resuming the trial of causes. 

Sunday, April 16th. This is a sad Easter Sunday. The 
City is a scene of mourning. From public and private 
buildings the flags float at half-mast, and columns and win¬ 
dows are draped with mourning emblems. President 
Lincoln lies a corpse, the victim of a cowardly assassin, and 
Mr. Secretary Seward, and several of his household, are at 
the point of death, victims of one of his accomplices. He 
was taken away at the moment when the country, regard¬ 
less of party, looked to him with Hope and Confidence. 
Providence will guard our future. 

Sunday, September 10th. Mrs. Curtis returned from 
Nassau May 12th, much improved in health. The chil- 


[l 86 S and 1866'] 

dren and Miss Powell went to Watertown in a few days 
after. Willy is to commence his Latin tomorrow, ten years 
old. How it carries me back to the days of Penna\ I 
have just received a notice of the death of my old friend, 
Eugene Jean Jaquet of Neufchatel, and must write to his 
wife, but what a trifle is it in the way of consolation to the 
widow and the fatherless children. 

Friday, September 29th. Forty-two years of age today. 
Passed the day engrossed in my usual avocations. My 
pleasure upon lying down or waking up is the thought that 
war and death and desolation are staid, and that peace 
and happiness are again smiling upon my beloved and unit¬ 
ed country. 

Thursday, December 7th. This day is by the recommen¬ 
dation of the President observed as a Thanksgiving, and 
never had a nation more cause to observe it. Mrs. Curtis 
and the two youngest children are here, and the rest are at 
Watertown. Tuesday I attended the funeral of young 
Major Chas. F. Davies, who returned shattered in health 
from serving honorably in the Army, to linger a few weary 
weeks at home and then die. 

Above is the notice of the marriage of Miss Kingsbury, 
a long cherished friend, and for whose welfare my prayers 
ascend. (Uncle Fred’s cousin married Comte de Giver- 

Wednesday, January 31st. Went with F. J. Kingsbury 
to Washington. Thursday, P. M., we went with Profes¬ 
sor Davies and Judge Davies to receptions at Secretary 
McCullough’s and Secretary Morgan’s. Met General 
Thomas Meade and other Military and civil celebrities. 
From Senator Morgan’s, Mr. Kingsbury and myself went 
to the French Minister’s, M. le Marquis de Mouthon, where 
we met chiefly members of the Diplomatic Corps. Friday 
we drove to Arlington House and the Soldiers’ graves. In 
the evening, we called on Senator and Mrs. Lane, and then 
supped at Mr. Coyle’s. Saturday evening and Sunday — 


, >n3iil >io ;rn io r'jftab aril lo 3 # >iton r » hsvnon nu{ 3varf 

J8i£ yisunfi 

^ial31D38 Jfi cfloiiqO^Dl Ol 23i 7fiCI 3jk»[ bflB 831 VfiG 108 

aiariw ,norilt/ol71 3b giupu.1/ 3l .M t « lOJemiM rtonovl aril ol 

oil? br.ii r 3ftfiJ .?il A baa loifirrcS no balko dw ^ninava aril 
k :m f!)V3 yeti :;1.3 .«Sl{oO .lM )fc boq(U8 

O 8671 

we passed the former at Mr. Poliak’s and the latter at Gen¬ 
eral Ramsay’s. Monday attended Mrs. Dixon’s reception, 
called on Miss Foot, and in the evening we went to General 
Grant's. Here we saw the hero, his wife and father, and a 
crowd of celebrities. Tuesday returned to New York. 

Friday, Feb. 28/67. 

My Dear Wife, 

I received your letter yesterday and have told Willy 
to give the chair to your Aunt Maria. 

I dined again with Mansfield and his wife at The Clar¬ 
endon, and afterward went to call on Miss Campbell who 
with her Papa inquired after your welfare. 

The Judge* was to have given a dinner to Gen. Grant 
yesterday but as he did not come it is postponed until next 
week. Mansfield says he was not invited, “ only desirable 
people,” so I suppose it was a political dinner. 

The Prof.f came down as he did not get the news of the 

It has ceased snowing, but is cloudy and thawing today. 
I go up to see if I can get the horse exercised a little, as I 
feel very anxious about all and especially that portion of my 
family. I get no letter today. 

Rachel seems to do very well, and Marguerite is en¬ 
gaged in the pious work of converting her to the Catholic, 
Roman Church. 

Remember me to Mr. Cornish when you see him and 
I hope the cross back of the pulpit has ceased to scandalize 
the Aiken Christians. 

I hope you are all well, and that you and Holbrook 
will not make each other sick. 

•Henry Davies. 

fProf. Charles Davies, then at West Point. 



• ' 

os Isbn£D2 ol boes^o 2 k jiq uq or!] \o ^oud 22013 arij sqod I" * 


Regular meals, regular sleep, and our boys are well. 
But when they come under the pressure of school, Circus, 
and other City excitements they have to succumb. 

Nothing charged for medicinal advice at this office! 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Sunday, September 22nd. Yesterday I attended the 
funeral of my old and tried friend, Franklin F. Randolph. 
I was at his house where he died on Wednesday morning. 
He was a just, conscientious, honorable, even tempered, 
generous man. I trust my son, who is named from him, 
may be enabled to follow his example. He was buried at 
Woodlawn Cemetery near the grave of his brother-in-law, 
Ezra R. Goodridge, another near friend who preceded him 
but a few short weeks. 

Sunday, September 29th. Forty-four years old today. 
Attended the opening services at St. George's Church. A 
beautiful restoration. The chipped walls alone show the 
effects of the fire. Dr. Spring, at Dr. Tyng’s request, made 
the closing prayer. 

Wednesday, October 2nd. This morning between 3 and 
4 o’clock a daughter was born to me. May God pour his 
blessings upon her and preserve her to be the joy and com¬ 
fort of my old age. (Mary Alathea Curtis) 

Thursday, November 28th. Thanksgiving. A rainy 
day. Dined at home with all my family. 

Wednesday, Christmas. Pleasant. Walked four miles 
in the morning. Then drove to the Central Park with Mrs. 
Curtis and the children to see the skaters and curlers. Passed 
the day at home. 

Thursday, January 16th. Twelve noon left for Wash¬ 
ington, arrived 10:30 P. M. Friday. Attended to my cause 
in the Supreme Court. Called on Mrs. Coyle, Mrs. Dixon, 
and in the evening on Judge Clifford. Ordronaux passed 
the evening with me and Saturday morning I strolled with 




him about Washington and in the evening returned to New 

The Bowery, N. Y., Feb. 22/68. 

My Dear Wife, 

We are all well and the baby* I see daily and it is grow¬ 
ing in beauty and wit. 

I saw Mrs. Foster Thursday evening at Mrs. Stough¬ 
ton’s and many people there and at Peter Cooper's whom 
I knew and who asked about you. I gave your message 
to Mrs. Stoughton who desired me to let her know when 
you were in town so that she could call. 

The Leslies were there and Davies 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Sunday, Dec. 20, 1868. 

209 E. 15th St., N. York. 

My Dear Wife, 

I was very glad to receive on Saturday your two letters 
informing me of your safe arrival in Nassau and that you 
were all well — The house was dismal enough after you all 
left and it was some days before I could endure dining there 
Fy myself. The week following, I was very closely confined 
by business engagements, and last Sunday I drove with Mr. 
Clift to the Park, and dined there in company with Rev. 
Dr. Weston and Mr. Lydig Suydam. This is the only din¬ 
ner or entertainment I have participated in since you left, 
except just before dinner, I attended for five minutes a re¬ 
ception at Miss Demings, Mrs. Moore’s, Mrs. Stuart’s, and 
Mrs. Sherwood’s. There were immense crowds at the two 
latter houses, but for certain reasons, viz., hunger, no time 
to make toilette, etc., etc., I simply made my bow and left 
after saluting the mistresses of the house. 

You will see by the papers, the death of one of my Club 
•confreres, Judge Robertson, a genial gentleman, and whom 
I am sorry to part with. 

•Mary Alathea. 


[1868 and i 86 q ] 

Today it rains, freezing as it falls and either the girls 
or Michael have shovelled about a barrel of saw dust over 
the front steps, to the amazement and horror of the old 
Quakeresses who are just trotting home from meeting, and 
who, avoiding stepping in the mess, look up aghast at the 
grocery taste of the proprietor of the door-plate. John 
Ordroneaux stayed here Monday and Mr. Kingsbury 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Wednesday, December 23rd. I am the sole member of 
the family staying in New York. Mrs. Curtis and Hol¬ 
brook and Kingsbury left on the 31st instant for Nassau, 
where I learn they arrived safe and are well. Tomorrow I 
leave for Connecticut to pass Christmas with the other chil¬ 
dren. Thanksgiving we passed very pleasantly at Water- 

Christmas 1868. Passed the day very pleasantly with 
the boys at Mr. Kingsbury’s. The morning previous I 
passed the smoking wreck of St. John’s Church where I 
was married and my six children baptized. 

New Year’s 1869. a most fearful snow storm blowing 
violently all day. Made 25 calls and then abandoned from 
pity for my horses and coachman, and suffering from ex¬ 
posure and soaked feet. 

209 E. 15th St., New York, 
Sunday P. M., Jan. 10, 1869. 

My Dear Wife, 

Willy wrote you his letter the early part of the evening 
and I thought now that he and I have been out visiting I 
would drop you a line. 

After dinner and letter writing we went to the Century 
and saw the pictures, and thence to your Aunt Maria’s where 
we had a pleasant call but brief and then to Doctor Thomas. 
He and his wife had just returned from a drive to Staten 
Island. You are aware, I suppose, Mrs. Lapsley has a 


' , o I lifeorj • 



daughter as well as Mrs. Scudder, about three days differ¬ 
ence between them. Dr. Metcalfe came in while we were 
there. Dr. Thomas said he never saw a boy who had im¬ 
proved as much as Willy has in the time since he saw him. 
His cheeks are red and he is a head as tall as Frank Good- 
ridge, as I observed at Church. So much for today’s sin 
and wickedness. 

I dined at Mr. Stoughton’s once, at dinner of Commit¬ 
tee on nominations at the Century, and I declined an in¬ 
vitation to dine at Dr. Thomas’. This week I have cards 
to a dinner by the Bar to Mr. Gerard on his retirement from 
practice, also to Dramatic Fund Ball, and Feb. 2 to Charity 
Nursery Ball where I shall go all as brave and very much 
like a beggar on horseback. 

Last night received letter from Miss Powell, which I 
enclose. Kiss the boys from me. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

209 E. 15th St., New York, 

Sunday, Feb. 7, 1869. 

My Dear Wife, 

Wednesday I had my first dinner company of the sea¬ 
son, in a very modest way. Mr. Kingsbury, Frank Good- 
ridge, Mrs. R. and Miss G. and I will now give you a sample 





-i > J '<> i i ^ni/J /t / /{isw U )bom yiov b ni ( noa 

won I // f ,fiL .0 eei •/ h'\r> /A .giM f ^b*n 


brick of my daily life. Thursday as every day, I was forced 
up to my utmost brain and nervous capacity — at 8 P. M. 
I attended the trustees meeting at the Century — At 9 P. M. 
I attended Mr. Du Chaillou lecture and the meeting of the 
Council of The Geographical Soc. At 10 I attended the 
Reception of Artists at The Academy of Design, at 11 I 
was in bed, and between 3 and 4 A. M. asleep. Friday 
P. M. was at a Reception at Judge Daly's, Admiral and 
Mrs. Farragut, and divers celebrities there, at 10 P. M. 
went with C. P. Kirkland from there to a Reception and 
supper given to the Committee of the Bar, at Mr. Jas. W. 
Gerard’s, At 12 M. in bed, but not asleep until after 3 
A. M. when I got up and took a nervine. Saturday, 9 P. M. 
at the monthly meeting of the Century Club, at 10 P. M. 
met some gentlemen in conference about a case at Mr. 
Stoughton's library. At 12:30 in bed, after 1 A. M. asleep, 
and today I am taking my rest. This evening dissipation 
closes with the approach of Lent, and as I give no dinners 
or receptions in return, and do not go to one half I am 
asked to I am at a loss why people ask me. 

Every time I go out I answer about ten inquiries about 
you, and this reminds me that I had Sunday P. M. an in¬ 
vitation to the Eaton’s to tea, an impossible affair with me. 

I shall be delighted when you close your term of ab¬ 
sence and hope to survive to see you once more, but toil and 
dissipation are taking out what few gray hairs I have left. 
The weather has been fine and continues so — 

The willows have turned yellow on the Park where I 
often drive, and an early Spring threatens us. I live in ex¬ 
pectation of hearing from you on Friday 

Yours most affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 


-ni nt . 1 / fibnug brri I Jcrii 5m abnicnn airil bcis ( uo^ 

[i86 9 ] 

Watertown, Saturday, Feb. 20, 1869. 

My dear Wife: 

The family are all well. I left New York by the 8 a. m. 
train, drove up to Alla’s, where the first face I saw was 
Master Willy. After arranging with Alla to go down with 
me Monday, I returned to the stage and resumed my jour¬ 
ney to this calm retreat of snow-sprinkled mud. Sanford 
looks as fresh and brave as a stable boy, but has requested 
me “to give him 12 cents to buy some cough candy which 
Mr. Starr tells him will cure his cough right away.” He 
says his cough has existed 3 or 4 days. 

The baby (Mary) has improved and walks supported 
by a chair, and has four new teeth, which have arrived since 
I was last there. I doubt if she will have red hair. Ran¬ 
dolph was celebrating his holiday with a game of marbles 
on the south side of the District School House, and on my 
asking who the colored boys with him were, he strenuously 
insisted they were white. Miss Calhoun is here visiting 
Miss Powell and seeks an opportunity to resume instructing. 
I came unexpectedly, but find a supply of fresh cod, pick¬ 
erel, beef, and oysters in the house. 

Sanford and I have just returned from a walk to Day¬ 
ton’s Pond, I find the finest ice I ever saw there, transparent 
blue cakes 2 Yi feet thick, and our ice-house has just been 
filled with it. I shall postpone writing much until to¬ 
morrow, for I am really tired with work and want of sleep, 
and expect to rise like a giant refreshed from slumber. 

Sunday. 7:45 a. m. Feb. 21, /69. 

I have made an elaborate toilette, and hearing no sounds 
in the house, but cheered and warmed by the bright sun¬ 
shine pouring into the four windows of the room, I have 
taken my pen to inform you before breakfast that I had 
a glorious sleep, and am confirmed in the opinion that there 
is no bed like a feather bed, and that our ancestors were 
ahead of us in wisdom. Since I received your letters by 
the steamer from Nassau I have not seen Mrs. Cyrus Cur- 


J . < 


tiss, but I will in time for your yarn by the steamer. Mr. 
Kingsbury came Monday night. Tuesday p. m. we called 
on Mrs. Bliss and saw such conjugal affection that took 
the wind out of our sails. We then called on your Uncle 
Thomas, and whilst we were there they both made up their 
minds and decided to go to Nassau by Thursday's steamer, 
and I think it is quite probable they have changed their 
views once or twice since on the subject, but it would not 
surprise me if they drifted there in company with this. 

Friday at 6 y 2 p. m. I went to Mr. Houghton’s to a fami¬ 
ly dinner, and then worked on a case with him till 11 p. m. 
when Ole Bull who seems to always stay there, came in, 
and played an hour for us, Norwegian airs and songs, telling 
us the story of what he played. It was very delightful, and 
gave me new conceptions of his poetical and musical genius 
and of the capacity of the violin. His country seems to be 
rich in the wildest tales and traditions. 

Thursday p. m. I went and took a Russian Bath by Dr. 
Thomas’ advice, for my knee. It was rather pleasant to be 
heated into a profuse perspiration with hot steam, and then 
to be showered with hot water, shampooed, rubbed, beaten, 
pulled, twisted and then put on a lounge to recline in a com¬ 
posed state for half an hour. Unluckily, I can feel no bene¬ 
fit from it, and I took some cold in my face coming home 
that set my face aching for 48 hours. My lameness is about 
the same, and deprives me of all active exercise, but by the 
use of a stick I get about so as to attend to all ordinary 

Sanford seems to have improved very much, and has 
given up bellowing entirely since he went to school. The 
boys do well there and I regret Mr. Adams is about to leave, 
for they do much better when there are others to study with 
them, and I suppose there will be no school after he goes. 
I will keep the rest of this sheet for a P. S. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 



svbH oJ errma bioinsg 


Tuesday, Feb. 23, 1869I 
Arrived last night with Alla. Left them all well. En¬ 
closed find Gold Certificate No. 658 as heretofore for $250. 
Will mail a similar one tomorrow. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Journey to Europe 

Wednesday afternoon, June 23rd, I left New York on 
the Cuba for Liverpool. My notebook and letters to Mrs. 
Curtis from the date which I trust in some leisure hours I 
may write an account of a journey that I found very agree¬ 
able. I arrived at Liverpool on the evening of July 4th and 
the next day I went to London. I remained until July 13th 
visiting the Courts, Houses of Parliament, etc., then I went 
to Brussels where I passed a week with my old friend San¬ 
ford, making excursions from there, and having an agree¬ 
able interview with the King at Luchen. 


*' I went to the Hague, thence to Amsterdam and 
on the 22nd arrived at Cologne. Thence to Weis- 
baden and Hombourg with the Sanfords. Parting 
with these good friends, I went on the 28th to Nuremburg, 
on the 29th to Munich and Augsburg to Lindau and Schaff- 
hausen. On the 6th, passing through Zurich and Lucerne, 
I arrived at Giessbach on Lake Brientry, thence to Inter¬ 
laken, Berne and Neufchatel. I arrived in Paris on the 
10th of August and remained visiting and sightseeing until 
the 16th inst., when I went to the Chateau of Giverville, 
where I passed a week most charmingly. The 23rd I re¬ 
turned to Paris, where my cousin Mrs. McLean informed 
me of the death of her father, my old friend and my father’s 
old friend, Charles Chapman. I heard but a week before 
of the death of Isaac Toucy, also the friend of my parents 
and my own. The 23rd visited Fontainbleau. 28th re¬ 
turned to London via Calais. 31st went to Ventnor, Isle 
of Wight, via Portsmouth and Ryde. September 1st went 


[i 86 g] 

to Cowes and Southhampton to Salisbury, visited Stonen- 
henge. 2nd went to Liverpool via Bath, Bristol, Glouces¬ 
ter, Worcester and Birmingham. 4th left on the Java, and 
on the morning of Wednesday, September 15th, landed in 
New York. 

Langham Hotel. 


July 7, 1869. 

My Dear Wife: 

I have just received your letter of the 25th. Yesterday 
I went to Mr. Morgan's to dinner at past 7. Met Gen. 
Robert E. Schenck and Mr. Walker of Springfield there, 
Miss Morgan, Mrs. Morgan, Jr. and Miss M. The house 
is beautifully situated, and the rear opens upon a little park 
like Grammercv Park only larger. The dinner was in all 
respects admirable, and the fruits were strawberries, rasp¬ 
berries, two kinds of cherries, and pineapple, and grapes, 
quite equalling anything New York can do in the way of 
fruits. This morning I wrote for the address of your 
Uncle Nathan,* Miss Shattuck and Mr. Herbert. I also 
left a card for Chief Justice Doyle at the Atheneum Club 
and ditto for the Bishop of Nassau at the offices of the Soc. 
for the Prop, of the Gospel, etc. Thence I went to the 
Courts at Westminster Hall, but soon went into the House 
of Commons where I spent five hours very much interested 
in a Debate on the Trades Unions. Mr. Hughes, author of 
Tom Broun at Rugby was speaking when I went in, and 
he spoke well and sensibly. Several prominent speakers 
followed. I saw John Bright who has grown old and 
stooping a very little in nine years.. I was surrounded by the 
officers of the Reform League where I sat in the Gallery. 
Shoemakers, masons, joiners, etc., all of them representing 
the council of the great Trades unions, and a rough looking 
but good-natured set of fellows they were. When they 

•Step uncle Judge Nathan Smith. 


1 * 869 ] 

found by questions I asked as to what was going on, that I 
was an American, they asked about wages we pay, prices of 
clothes, flour, etc., if I had seen Mr. Gough lately, whom 
they all knew, and then they showed me the photographs of 
their officers and council and brought to me the Sect, of the 
League, Geo. Howell. These are men who are accom¬ 
plishing much for their class, and who have vast interests 
entrusted to them by hundreds of thousands of working men, 
yet they receive nothing, work hard a good share of the 
time, and though they were in conference with millionaires 
in the House of Commons some of whom came to them in 
the gallery, not one of them, though in clean, Sunday suits, 
wore clothes that an American mechanic would have con¬ 
descended to look at. 

I have also today received a letter from Sanford urging 
me to visit him, saying that if I will telegraph he will meet 
me at the depot and take me to his house. I am inclined 
to think I shall not go to Brussels for a few days and per¬ 
haps not until after he has left, as I am disposed to remain 
quiet here for the present. I will write you more to¬ 

Friday, July 9th, / 6 g. 

Yesterday I attended on the argument of an appeal at 
the House of Lords, then upon an argument of a case before 
a committee of that House. Then went to Hyde Park to 
see the equestrians on Rotten Row. All the country gentry 
are in town, and have brought their saddle horses, and it 
was a sight to see at least 2,000 gentlemen, ladies and 
grooms following, all well mounted and some of them 
riding at full speed. 

I then went to the National Academy, to take a look at 

the pictures I saw nine years ago with so much pleasure. 

Turner by the side of Claude Lorraine, and some of the 

master-pieces of Rubens. 

* / 

In the evening I attended a session of the House of 
Lords. Lord Cairns, late Lord Chancellor, was one of the 




V 86g] 

leading speakers. He has not grown old since nine years 
ago when he took me to look at the same scene, and standing 
up to watch it at the bar of the House. Since then from 
a spectator and a hard-working lawyer, he has become an 
actor, and comparatively a man of leisure. The present 
Chancellor, late Mr. Pagewood, and Lord Chelmsford took 
active parts in the debate. • 

Some of these hereditary legislators work hard. The 
committee I was before, have been from 11 to 5 when the 
• House meets, taking testimony. None of our committees 
work harder. The Chairman, Earl Powis, is a man of 55. 
Lord Sidmouth, Abercrombie, and Waterford, who are 
with him are all young men. I must close. I hope you 
are all well. Write often if but a line. 

Love to all, 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Langham Hotel, 

Sunday, July n, 1869 

My Dear Wife: 

I received a letter Thursday afternoon from Mme. de 
Giverville, saying she was to leave the next day for some 
tonic iron springs, Forge aux eaux, to be absent until Aug. 
1, and urging me to come to Giverville then and stay “ as 
long as I could or would,” after having visited Holland 
and Belgium. 

I have had a letter from the Bishop asking me to come 
to them at the place where they have gone about 40 miles 
from London, also the same from your Uncle Nathan who 
is at Bath and has taken his passage home on the steamer 
of Aug. 24th, also Mr. Greatorex has invited me to go to 
Harrow with him and make a visit at his brother’s place 
there, who it seems is the eldest son, and holds the acres. 


1 I 

bluow io biuoo ] eb gnoi 
aniOD oj 5m qodaifl ar'J moil 19 JJ 31 fi bed T/sri i 


Hence you see I am pretty well provided for board and 
lodging if I should accept all the proffered hospitality. 

I was sorry to miss on Friday a call from Mr. Auberon 
Herbert, and another from Chief Justice Doyle who must 
be in clover here. That morning I called on Mr. Greatorex, 
and then went to the most curious place in London, and 
where from what I have looked into it (and I believe as an 
American they have less jealousy of me than of a country¬ 
man), there is an immense and unexplored mass of material 
for history,— The Herald’s College. I was there nine years 
ago, and the official relics of a past civilization gave me 
their cards, and this time they made the hours I have passed 
there very pleasant. 

You drive through an ancient gateway-in the oldest part 
of London in a street where but one vehicle can pass which 
is not over 6 feet wide. You find a court of about 2 acres 
surrounded by old dilapidated looking buildings, the pave¬ 
ment of the Court and the flights of steps seem to be worn 
about out of time. The porter asks you what you want, and 
the antedeluvians inside were astounded that I knew thev 


had James 1st turquoise mounted sword, and wanted to 
. know how I knew it, and step by step I have got a look at 
their uncatalogued treasures of relics and manuscripts, 
most of which I fancy came to them in stormy times for 
safe-keeping, and their title is pretty good for there is not 
much chance of the owners coming for them. 

After church I called on Mr. Herbert and Judge Doyle 
and Mr. Quintun, where I had declined an invitation to 
dinner and left a card at Mr. Morgan’s. Judge Doyle and 
Mr. Herbert were out. I intend to go to Brussels Tuesday. 
I hope you are all well. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

3 IQ 



Brussels, July 19, 1869. 

My Dear Wife: 

I have just received your letter of July 1, No. 3 for¬ 
warded to me from London and am glad to hear you are all 
well. I am just on the point of leaving for the Hague, after 
having passed a week very agreeably here, and making this 
my point of departure for exploration of the surrounding 
' country. 

I have written you all the details of my trip up to Thurs¬ 
day last. That day I visited in the morning the Courts. 
I then drove with Sanford out to Luchen about 4 miles to 
the palace where it had been arranged I was to have an 
interview with the King. We were received with cere¬ 
mony and ushered through a double line of servants in livery 
to a large room where the officer of the palace was in at¬ 
tendance. In a few minutes we were ushered into another 
large apartment, in the centre of which a handsome man of 
35, dressed in the deepest mourning, and at least 6 feet four, 
was standing. We had a conversation of half an hour in 
English at first, and then in French. The King asked 
questions all the while, was well up in most things in re¬ 
gard to our country, wanted to know how we managed about 
women and children working in mines and manufactories. 
Spoke of his trouble about it, and said it made “ mauvais 
menage ” when the women worked in the mines during the 
day and the husbands were driven to pass the evenings at 
the cabaret. He said he had been in China and his father’s 
illness called him home, or he should have gone to America 
then and that he meant to visit America in 3 or 4 years if he 
could by that time have his affairs in such a position he 
could do so, etc. I told him with pride about our laws and 
schools meeting the evils his people suffered by the employ¬ 
ment of women and children. He said he had never ventured 
to attempt the innovation of compelling the peasants to send 
their children to school, but he had thought much about it 
and how it would benefit the country and that he wished to 



see how all these things worked in the United States. He 
is evidently a well-informed man and understands and de¬ 
votes himself to his duties.* 

After that I visited a curious collection of paintings and 
the Zoological gardens, in which were interesting collec¬ 
tions of fishes. In the evening the English minister, Sears, 
of the Legation, and Wife, dined at Sanford’s. 

Friday the 16th. I went with Mr.. Sanford’s mother 
and Miss Janet Shelton to visit Bruges and Ghent and we 
passed a very pleasant day. In fact it has not rained a day 
since I have been here. 

But the time for me to go to the train and eat my break¬ 
fast has arrived, and I will tell you all about it in my next 
in a day or two. Mrs. Sanford sends her love to you and 
hoping you are all well I am, 

Yours most affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Homburgh Les Blains 
Monday, July 26/69. 

Mrs. Curtis, 
c/o W. E. Curtis, 

Watertown, Conn. 

U. S. A. 

My Dear Wife: 

I arrived here Sat. p. m. and have concluded to take a 
rest for a couple of days and have just telegraphed to Lon¬ 
don to have the letters received for the past week while I 
have been wandering about forwarded to me here, and I 
expect to receive them Wednesday morning. 

In the evening Sanford came with his wife, mother, 
cousin, child and for servants and the next day we went up 
the Rhine to Biberich by steamer. We arrived there about 
10 p. m. and drove out in a carriage to Wiesbaden. 

*He played Mr. Sanford a mean trick in the Congo speculation which ruined 
Mr. S. 

3 12 

toi .fb I o: )h?rn diov 



These German baths are rather interesting places. All 
nations are represented, and just at present the Turks and 
the Americans are the greatest gamblers; our countrymen, 
Russians, Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Germans predom¬ 
inate in numbers, and the diversity of manners, language, 
toilette and features are quite interesting. Our new diplo¬ 
matic representatives are all here, engaged in indefatigable 
devotion to the cause of the country they represent, and 
some of them have with them their wives and their children. 
I find here Mr. Washburn, minister to Paris, with his Sec¬ 
retary of Legation, Moore, of the Century, John Jay and 
his family from the Legation at Vienna. Gov. Curtin and 
his Secretary who belong at St. Petersburgh, and about a 
dozen others. Baron Stoeckl whom you recollect last sum¬ 
mer at the Pequot House, is also here. Belmont and many 
others. The gay shops and ladies of Paris are largely rep¬ 
resented here and the entire company of the Palais Royal 
Theatre play every night, so I infer this place bears some¬ 
what the relation to Paris that Saratoga does to New York. 
The gambling is pretty extensive, and almost as much in¬ 
dulged in by the women as the men. I think a large pro¬ 
portion of the people are adventurers, male and female that 
make up the gay, floating crowd, and then all the great 
unfortunates come here for comfort. Yesterday I saw the 
Duke of New Castle, who has left the turf ruined in for¬ 
tunes, a youngster, you remember his father came over with 
the Prince of Wales. He had with him his mother who 
ran away with the groom whom she married, after the old 
Duke got a divorce, also the groom, now his step-father-, 
and their child, his half-sister, about four years old, and 
his wife the present Duchess with black eyes and blackened 
eyelids, and a lady friend of these precious samples of the 
noblest aristocracy in the world. When the groom married 
the Duchess, he told the clergyman here who married 
them, that he was at a loss how he should ever get on trying 
to act the strange part of a gentleman. “ Always wear a 



M J I * , . 



black coat and always keep your mouth shut,' 1 was the re¬ 
joiner of his spiritual adviser, and they say he has most 
faithfully adhered to it. 

This morning I went to the springs but could not swal¬ 
low any of the water. They lie in a beautiful wood ap¬ 
proached by shady walks and are surrounded by flowers 
and on one side a fine conservatory. I saw American white 
daisies and mullens receiving the choicest attention of the 
gardeners. At one spring the water in a jet completely 
covers a large, beautiful boquet But I must close. Mr. 
and Mrs. Sanford have desired me to send you their love, 
and I hope and pray you are all well. 

Love to the boys, and oceans of it to you, 

Yours most affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Grand Hotel. 


Aug. 24th, 1869. 

My Dear Wife: 

I have just received yours and Willy’s letter of Aug. 
6th, and also yours of Aug. 8th, and am sorry to hear that 
he is suffering from headache. I suppose Mr. Barton may 
as well take his vacation in August as he has no school, and 
it seems very questionable if our boys will in any event turn 
it to much account, as I fear they will have to vegetate for 
the present. Am sorry the cistern, under the influence of 
continual rain, has given out, but after using the well for 
a few days it must occur to the Celtic genius to clean the 
leaves, apples and sticks out of the pipes, so that the water 
can flow into it from the roof again when it rains and which 
has been done every summer. 

I left Giverville yesterday afternoon driving with Mr. 
de G. to the station, and arrived here at 5 p. m. and in the 
evening called on Mrs. McLean and found them all very 


io r>nm Hni isbrui t xr.aim 1 ynoa rnA Jnsasiq aril 

. . ■ , : . .- ! nr; t f ufb 03 .0 )b 


much distressed by the receipt of the news of the death of 
Mr. Chapman, which was quite a surprise to me. 

I shall probably leave here in a few days for England 
and the time for sailing begins to be near at hand. 

On the Friday after I wrote you, I went with Mr. de G. 
to Serguigny, the Chateau of the Marquis de Croix, and 
breakfasted and passed most of the day there. It is a fine, 
old chateau, placed low in a long stretch of meadow, with 
a grand avenue of trees, and approached by driving over 
the bridge of a moat, kept filled with water surrounding it. 
He is a widower with two daughters, Mme. la Marquise de 
Caulaincourt, a widow, and Mme. la Comtesse de Dugd- 
mar, both young and handsome; (and 60 horses). The 
latter I took in to breakfast and sat by the other, and passed 
a very agreeable morning. The breakfast had meats for 
Protestants, and fish, shrimps, eggs, fruits, pastry, wine, etc. 
for people of all faiths. About a dozen persons were pres¬ 
ent and it lasted an hour and a half. The old Marquis who 
is immensely rich and a Senator of France, took us all over 
his stables, keeping us some three hours looking at horses, 
colts, trotters, etc., and giving us specimens of the speed and 
action of his favorites. On our way home we called on a 
Mme. La Comtesse de Gauville, who has an interesting 
Chateau, and who received us very kindly. She is a widow 
and has been beautiful (and looks like Mr. J. M. L. Sco- 
vill.) She thinks very much of Mr. de G. as a Christian 
and the friend and admirer of her son Comte de Gauville, 
whom he has lately been second for, in a duel fought with 
swords at the Boise de Vincenne. The next day she came to 
Giverville and dined and I was very much interested in her 
style, which was a new female revelation. For her, Henry 
V is' King, the Pope infallible, the Bourbons heavenly, 
modern progress and education the bane of all nations, etc. 

Sunday I attended mass in the morning. The ladies in 
the family pew were the only ones who wore bonnets, every 
other woman in the church wore white caps. After church 




Ii86 9 ] 

I was stared at as the general impression was that I must be 
black coming from America. From noon to vespers, shops 
were opened, market held, meats and grain sold in public, 
and after vespers as is the usual custom here, a violin was 
brought out and the men and women who had been 12 and 
14 hours per day at the harvest danced three mortal hours 
on the ground in the open air. This I fancy was the origin 
of Church greens. But I must close with much love to you 
and the children and to Alla and all. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

(Extracts from letter from Mme. de Giverville) 

17th May, 1870. 

.I wish Mr. Sanford could get (to) Paris 

— he would represent us creditably. (I should go to his 
balls). I am sure his salons would be tres frequente — there 
is a very pleasant American society in Paris now. The 
Washburns have a nice house, Mrs. W. is my cousin but 
entre nous she has no “ usage ” whatever, is exceedingly 
plain and uninteresting. He is a politician, the superior to 
the generality of swaggering westerners. Mr. Sanford w r as 
cut out for the diplomatic service for he has brains as w r ell 
as breeding and you have no idea w T hat w r eight savoir vivre 
has even with the statesmen in France — politeness ranks 
next to godliness and cleanliness in this land of fine man¬ 


-’ 7 ° 

Dear friend: 

I have been intending to write to you for an age but I 
am so dull, I feel as if I w^ere living in a perpetual night¬ 
mare, all the horrid things that are going on. The Prussians 
are in Normandy and I dare say we shall have them here 
as this is a very rich and fertile country. 

3 l6 



All our neighbors are in active service. The Marquis 
de Croix being old and unwieldly has gone to Belgium with 
his daughter, the fair Marquise, till the war is over (?). 
The Senators lost their seats by the fall of the iniquitious 
Bonaparte. That hussy, Mathilde, was making away with 
diver’s packages which were fortunately seized by the 
police and the French public is now regaling itself with 
the correspondence of “ Invasion III.” The light thrown 
upon the private life and habits of Cesare are not cal¬ 
culated to obtain for him the admiration or respect of the 
present or future. An effete brain prematurely worn out 
by excesses; a puppet made to move by the strings of favori¬ 
tism, a despot with a thousand caprices, “ Napoleon le Se- 
duitaire.” If he had only fallen into the abyss with his 
advisors and their rottenness, but he has dragged France 
with him into the depths of humiliation and ruin. A mil¬ 
lion of Germans in France, pouring over it with the most 
formidable artillery that the world has ever seen, nothing 
to resist them, thousands of raw recruits but no brain to 
organize, to lead, to impel and give life. France has sinned, 
but she is cruelly punished. M. Thiers is going to the 
King’s headquarters at Versailles to hold a parley, and we 
shall know the result very soon, but the French would rather 
bury themselves under the ruins of their country than give 
up one iota of territory which would only be a preliminary 
step to further concessions and to the acknowledged sov¬ 
ereignty of Prussia. 

I dare say I shall go to America in the Spring. Our 
affairs need attention. I shall settle for a year or two 
somewhere in the land of my forefathers, New England — 
nous verrons. 

Write soon. Tell Fred that I received his letter and 
shall write him and Alla. If you see Mme. D’Armainville 
tell her the Prussians have not yet got into our neighbor- 



hood. I suppose Mrs. Curtis is South. Love to her if she 
is not and your children. 

Very sincerely yours, 

V deG. 

Giverville ’71 
March 16th. 

My dear friend: 

I received your letter of the 24th Feb y a few days ago. 
The Prussians invaded Giverville the 23d of January and 
remained for fifteen days the Lords of all they surveyed as 
I left, and went to a chateau in the neighborhood till the 
armistice. The 5th division of cavalry under command of 
General de Barbey made a charge on the wine cellar and 
the result was a thousand bottles of wine were “ among the 
missing.” The soldiers stole all M. de Giverville’s shirts, 
boots, coats, pantaloons, hunting dress and so forth. Hay, 
fodder of every kind, vanished in a twinkling as there were 
three hundred horses to feed. Your room was occupied 
by a drunken Surgeon who came near setting fire to the 
house. My apartment, fortunately, fell to the Command¬ 
ant a young Mr. von Veltheim, who behaved like a gentle¬ 
man and did what he could to preserve order but he was 
subordinate to the General and Colonel. The old cook 
remained in charge of the house and conducted herself most 
gallantly for the General threatened to shoot her if she did 
not give them champagne wine — finally he was made to 
understand that there was none and shooting a woman would 
not add greatly to his military fame. I am an American 
and therefore, cannot be suspected of prejudices—(for I 
despise the French people and Republicans) but this war 
was pillage and rapine organized on a vast scale, all the 
valuables stolen by officers high in command are incalcul¬ 
able. The colonel took my two double harnesses. I am now 
obliged to creep about with one beast. Apropos the coupe 
was requisitioned to take a wounded officer to Chartres, 
forty leagues from here the coachman escaped and brought 





back the carriage which otherwise would have gone to 
Berlin. The Marquis de Croix sent all his horses to Bel¬ 
gium. The Marquis de Monsari’s carriages were driven 
off and are on their way to Germany. King William is 
not responsible for the war, but on his head rests the ini- 
quitious manner in which it is carried on — he has sown 
dragon’s teeth and with the help of God the French in 
twenty years, or less, will take their revenge. The infants 
in swaddling clothes are to be trained in those ideas — I 
am hoping to have a son to teach him German and ven¬ 
geance— apropos of counting chickens before they are 
hatched. Please find out Dr. Sims’ address in N. Y., and 
whether he intends coming to Europe this summer. Dr. 
Thomas will know. M. de G. got perfectly well, do not 
speak of his illness to any one for it was hypochondria, and 
enlisted in M. de Charette’s cavalry — it is a corps com¬ 
posed of the flower of royalists and if the Lord's annointed 
comes to the throne, stands some chance of being favored. 
M. de G. was mentioned in the order of the day for gallant 
and meritorious conduct and is proposed for the Cross of 
the Legion d’honneur much to my satisfaction if he gets it. 
I shall send you his photograph as soon as I get it from the 

Anxiety and separation are not wholesome, I am as thin 
as a June shad and as grey as a badger. I think a drive in 
the park and a few discussions on conchology would ma¬ 
terially benefit me. I hope we shall go to America before 
very long. My property is getting very valuable, but pro¬ 
duces taxes principally. I shall have to get rid of some of it. 
I enclose an account of Mexican tights which will edify you 
and enlighten you on the spiritual condition of Juares’ “ dis¬ 
tinguished countrymen.'’ Mrs. Curtis will soon be com¬ 
ing home again. My love for her and the children. I wrote 
Fred and Alla a while ago. Give them news of me with 
love. Miss Motley married a Mr. Sheridan the other day. 
There are quantities of Americans floating about in Lon¬ 
don Society. 


I ; ru ' d‘ • n ‘ ? 1 ^ 


Where are the Sanfords? My sister is well and the 
mother of seven living children; I predict twins for you on 
my next visit to New York. 

Believe me yours sincerely 

M. K. G. 

M. de G. is still away in Brittany, his corps has not yet 
been disbanded. Giverville is beginning to look green and 
the avenue is “ picking up.” 

I hope the Alabama claims will be satisfactorily settled. 
Prussia has kept England idle by holding that threat over 
her head. Bismarck says that Bonaparte has not only killed 

his dynasty but buried his- For the sake of morality 

and justice; let us hope it, for in that family the women 
are sans peur and the men sans coeur. 

Wednesday, September 29th. Forty-six years old to¬ 

Thursday, November 18th, Thanksgiving. Detained 
in New York by the illness of Holbrook, passed the day 
with him and his Mother. We were prevented from join¬ 
ing the other children, who were at Watertown. 


Saturday. Beautiful day. Went to see the boys skate 
in the morning. Attended Church. Watertown furnishes 
more amusements for boys at this season than all the fine 
toys and gaiety of New York. 

New Year’s, 1870 

Made calls with Mr. Kingsbury. About 1 P. M., it 
commenced raining and the day terminated in a dismal 
storm. Mrs. Curtis came in the evening from Watertown. 

Monday, March 21st. Today I assisted as pall-bearer 
for my long esteemed friend Julian C. Verplanck. I shall 
no more meet, as I have done almost weekly for many years, 
this most agreeable friend, whose conversations, remini¬ 
scences, wonderful culture, and admirable life and princi- 



li ,.IA .4 i loodA .^rudagni/T ,iM ritiw zIIbo sbcM 

o r i(jn ; n5V3 aHt ni omBO eiituD .rrnota 


pies, charmed all who knew him. He died in his 84th 
year, without pain, and without metal decay. I cannot 
recall in all our long acquaintance, one word that indicated 
anything but what the most innocent child could have 
listened to, so guileless he seemed to be. The other pall¬ 
bearers were Wm. C. Bryant, Jas. R. Roosevelt, Fred De- 
Peyster, Henry Nicoll, Wm. Kemble, Jas. Thompson and 
Thomas Ludlow. 

Thursday, September 29th, 1870. I am alone at my 
house in town attending the Courts. The summer has 
passed pleasantly, though it has been one of unusual heat 
and drought. I have remained with my family at Water- 
town, such portion of it as I could be absent from the City. 
Death has during the interval removed the widow of my 
Uncle Robert, a most amiable and excellent lady. Yes¬ 
terday brought me the intelligence of the death of Benjamin 
Rankin at Schaffhausen in Switzerland, for many years my 
much loved pupil, assistant and friend. My family have 
enjoyed health during the summer, and I am quite well, but 
I feel an unusual shrinking, as I see the amount of profes¬ 
sional labor I have enlisted for the coming months. 

Thursday, November 24th, Thanksgiving. Drove with 
Mrs. Curtis to Jerome Park in the morning. Dined at 
home with the children that were in town. 

New York, Sunday, Feb. 5/71 

Mrs. W. E. Curtis, 

Royal Victoria Hotel, 

Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas. 

My Dear Wife, 

I received your two letters by the steamer yesterday and 
was glad to hear you were all well and comfortable. Mon¬ 
day went to Waterbury — then Watertown, found all well 
— saw baby in the morning. 

I have dined at home every day since my return and 
worked very hard, and shall dine at home today. Thurs- 

3 21 



day evening by a superhuman effort I turned away from my 
inviting couch and dressed, and went to the Charity Ball 
for about an hour and a half, and a handsome spectacle it 
was. Tuesday I have accepted a request to take part in a 
dinner, to be given to Mr. Gouverneur Kemble 85 aet. at 
the Century. Lads like Wm. C. Bryant and myself will 
show honor and reverence for our seniors. 

P. S. Dr. Vinton has written me a very pleasant letter 
and enclosed Holbrook's drawing of an “ actual scene in 
Nassau,” and I should have called again to see him, if he 
had not said in his note we should probably meet at the 
Century Saturday evening. But he was not there last night, 
though I saw him passing into Trinity yesterday as I was 
driving by. 

I trust when you get back you will condescend to at least 
dine with untitled Yanks, though I will try to get some 
militia rank, if that will enable me to pass muster. The 
baby looked nice and fresh when Ann brought her out. 
Remember me to Miss Shattuck. 

Ever Affectionately yours, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

No. Broadway, New York, 
Wednesday, Feb. 8/71. 

My Dear Wife, 

I have heard from Watertown and as Willy writes he 
has indited 5 pages to you I fancy you will get full 6 cents 
worth from there. 

I saw your Uncle Henry in Court yesterday who in¬ 
vited me to dine with him on Saturday which I accepted. 
Today I dine at Mrs. Stoughton’s. Last night we gave a 
little dinner, some twenty of us, at the Century in honor 
of Mr. Gouverneur Kemble who has just passed his 85th 
birthday. It was a very pleasant affair. Wm. C. Bryant 
aet 75 presided and made the opening speech. Mr. Kemble 
aet 85 made a long speech in reply. His brother William 





told me he never heard him speak before and that it was 
his maiden effort. Mr. A. B. Durand, about 76, spoke, 
then boys like S. J. Tilden, John Gourley, Pres. Barnard, 
etc. West Point was represented by Dr. Metcalfe, Gen’ls. 
Cullom, Baldy Smith, Barnard, Webb, etc., mostly Century 
men. Mr. Pierson at 80 presided at one end of the table 
and spoke. These old associates of Washington Irving and 
that class are moving rapidly off the stage, and I rather 
regret that I have never accepted any of the hospitable in¬ 
vitations I have received in past years to country places on 
the river, where I should have seen more of them. 

But I must close. Shall probably have the weakness to 
write you again just before the steamer mail closes. 

Gen. Webb told me last night that his father, Gen. Jas. 
Watson Webb, goes in the Steamer tomorrow to Nassau 
& have 4 rooms engaged months since — 

Love to Holbrook. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 


Thursday, Mrs. Curtis and Holbrook sailed in the 
Moro Castle for Nassau, where I trust tomorrow's sun will 
find them safe and well. I am alone in the City, all the 
children being in Connecticut. Intend dining at Mr. 
Stoughton’s tonight. Tomorrow is to be devoted to paying 
visits, and is the Legal Holiday. The New Year comes 
in smiling with sunshine, and I trust will smile on me and 
mine, during the continuance as the old year has done, for 
which I thank Providence. 

Friday, September 29th, 1871. Forty-eight today. 
Alone in the City attending to professional duties. The 
family are at Watertown, where we have all passed a pleas¬ 
ant summer, all well. Only left once with Mrs. Curtis and 
that was to attend Miss Shattuck’s wedding in Boston. 
Putting on my glasses for the first time to write in this 
book helps me to realize the flight of time. William is 
a freshman at Trinity. 



ii 8£ DonfiuniJnoo 0A1 gniiub t 3 nirn 
i . ,{' i; s : 'r niqtjS t ysb \\ 

[ l8]I and 1872] 

Sunday, November 12th, 187.1. On Sunday, October 
1st, I attended Dr. Booth's funeral at Newtown and re¬ 
turned in the evening. The next evening I left for Roch¬ 
ester where I actively participated in the proceedings 
inaugurated by the Democratic Reform party. The cam¬ 
paign has since then occupied much of my time, and on 
Sunday the 7th instant, I was elected a Judge of the Superior 
Court by nominations from all parties, opposed to Tamany. 
If I live, and am content to sit on the bench the next four¬ 
teen years, my professional life I feel will soon close. But 
I cannot read the future. I have been ill for the past three 
days with a severe cold, which prevents my attending my 
Aunt Ann Edmond's funeral at Newtown today. She was 
a retiring diffident person, but most amiable, kind and un¬ 
selfish. Her life was passed in devoted attention to others. 
The first portion of her life was spent in making the de¬ 
scending path smooth and pleasant to her aged parents, and 
the rest to her sister Mrs. Booth and her children. And 
now when infirmity and long suffering came upon her, those 
children have most affectionately cared for her. I am glad 
I saw her when I was at Dr. Booth’s funeral and took leave 
of her, which somewhat consoles me for not being able to 
pay the last tribute of respect to a relative for whom I 
always felt a warm attachment, and who is pleasantly as¬ 
sociated with most of my early recollections. 

New Year’s, January 2, 1872. Monday. A mild over¬ 
cast day. I have driven with Willy making calls a good 
part of the day. I see in him so much of myself at that 
age. With a hard cold and sore throat, I fancy a sense of 
duty rather than of pleasure, has induced me to pay visits 

Sunday, June 30th, 1872. Mrs. Curtis and Holbrook 
and Randolph went in February to Nassau and returned 
the 20th of April, well and having enjoyed the excursion. 
Yesterday the Gen. Term adjourned and I am free until 
September 20th unless called on to supply some unforeseen 

3 2 4 

• - ; / ' / V | . 

o mo 3 Jsrlwamo? rforrfvy f i3rt lo 


vacancy at Special 7 and Chambers. I have some cases yet 
to examine and decide, but the mercury has kept in the 90’$ 
for some days. I have determined to take a vacation and 
go to Watertown on Tuesday where all the family are. The 
first six months of my judicial life have passed away very 
agreeably. I trust that I shall not regret the change. 

Sunday, September 29th, 1872. Forty-nine years this 
Michaelmas. I am alone in town sitting at Chambers, and 
have been since the 11th instant. I have supplied a part 
of the vacancy caused by the death of Judge McCann. I 
have passed most of the summer with the family at Water- 
town. In July I visited Saratoga, and in the latter part of 
August I went with Willy to Newport and Narragansett 
Pier for a few days. On Thursday Aug. 1st at 2 P. M. my 
dear Aunt Mrs. Tomlinson died at Plartford, and I attend¬ 
ed her funeral on the 5th of August. She was an energetic, 
sensible, judicious woman, strongly attracted to her friends 
and relatives and always most kind and affectionate to me. 
She nursed me when I was a law student and ill with scarlet 
fever in New York with a mother's tenderness, and by her 
advice and encouragement did much to benefit and en¬ 
courage me in my early life. She lived into her 90th year, 
retaining her faculties, except her eyesight failed to a con¬ 
siderable extent the last year or two. Her general health 
seemed good, but yielded to the unprecedently long and 
severe heat of July and terminated in an illness which was 
brief and diptheretic in its character. Her death, and the 
removal of Mrs. Chapman from Hartford, will break up 
a house where, from childhood, I have ever been most kindly 
and hospitably entertained. 

(Judge Holbrook Curtis was born in 1787. Polly Ann 
1782 — She was married at the age of 15 to Isac Tomlin¬ 

My oldest son has entered his sophomore year at Trinity 
College and my second, Holbrook, has entered the Episco¬ 
pal Academy at Cheshire. 



10 3 i r.'V .) I 1 h • 



Sunday, January 12th, 1873. Life passes quietly. Many 
friends leave the world whom I have been in the habit of 
frequently meeting. From the Century, Dr. Lieber, Ken- 
sett, Ino H. Priestly, and others I might enumerate who 
have recently died. My new duties are agreeable and I 
like the change. Thanksgiving and Christmas were passed 
in New York with my family. New Year’s I went to Wash¬ 
ington to break up a lingering cold by a change of air and 
scene, and I succeeded. 

Tuesday, February 18th, 1873. Having a brief vaca¬ 
tion, and my oldest son and myself being advised to try a 
little change of air, we started at 1 P. M. for Florida by 
rail. Found on the train the Italian Minister whom I had 
met at Newport, a very agreeable and cultivated man. He 
gave me some interesting accounts of his diplomatic ex¬ 
perience at Madrid in the time of the late Queen. Reached 
the Arlington House at Washington at 11 P. M. Wednes¬ 
day, February 19th. Took the first boat down the river 
since the ice broks up, moving in the freshet amid acres of 
driftwood. At 3 P. M. reached Richmond via Quantico. 

The rest is omitted — descriptions of scenery. 

New York Superior Court, 

Judges’ Chambers, New Court House, 
New York, May 27, 1873. 

My Dear Wife: 

After dinner yesterday I called at your Uncle Thomas’ 
and found your Aunt apparently far from well. Your Uncle 
Thomas appeared in good condition, though I see some 
of his lawsuits are decided adversely. Slept with windows 
open last night, it was so warm, but in spite of that I caught 
cold in my head. They always strike the weakest part. 

Willy came to the house just as I was leaving, very much 
refreshed, he said, with his visit to the Delafields. 

It is cooler today. I have accepted an invitation for 
Wednesday again to meet William Richards, Chief Justice 


of Canada, but I distrust my capacity to stand dining out in 
this way. This is at Mr. Albert Matthews’ house. 

I hope you are all well. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

P. S. Am writing in Court. Samuel McLean arrived 
yesterday from Liverpool. Many people have already gone 
out of town. Half the houses about are empty, and ap¬ 
parently all will soon be so. I am too modest to carry round 
the plate, that is too lame, at St. George’s, so don’t be too 
much set, you and Alla, at having another indifferent vestry¬ 
man in the family. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Trip with his son William 

Tuesday Aug. 26. We went by rail to Halifax, N. S. 
Saw hundreds of trees prostrated on the sides of the moun¬ 
tains by the storms of the two previous days. Wednesday 
we visited the Citadel, Public Buildings, the Point and 

Friday Aug. 29th. We visited Trin. Church. Saw the 
tablets, among others to Wm. Scoville, the Canon’s Father. 
Went with him to the old burial place of many of the emi¬ 
nent Loyalists and in the evening attended a play by the 
officers of the Halifax garrison, and very well done for ama¬ 
teurs. The next day I drove with Dr. Keator to many 
places of interest, and in the evening attended a Scovill 
family supper and dancing at the former’s residence. Sun¬ 
day, Aug. 31, drove to Rothesay and dined with Mr. Dom- 
vill, M. P., at his residence, Kinghurst, and attended 
Church there. Mrs. Domvill was a Miss Scovill. In the 
evening we called at Canon Scovill’s, Dr. Keator’s, Mr. 
Thorne’s and Mr. Jas. Scovill’s and the next morning left 
for Bangor. Here we passed the night. Thence to Boston 
where I found Randolph and took him to St. Paul’s School, 



-n:?2 .aombrgyi < t >rrrio\ oril l£ ^nionsb bns -nqqua ylinifif 


Concord, whence I returned to Watertown the evening of 
Thursday Sept. 4th. 

Sunday, Sept. 28. I am in town sitting at Chambers 
after a long summer’s vacation. After attending Com¬ 
mencement at Trinity College and also the College Regatta 
at Springfield, I remained quietly at Watertown until Aug. 
18, when I went to Boston. Thence I went to St. John, 
N. B. via Bangor, arriving Wed. p. m., Aug. 20, passing 
most of the way after leaving Bangor through a forest of 
evergreens. Thursday I went with the Rev. Canon Wm. 
Scovill and my son on the steamer which conveyed the 
Vice Regal party to the Regatta and thence on an excursion 
into the Bay of Funday. The next day we went to Frede¬ 
ricton, visited Govt. House and Gov. Wilmot, the Univer¬ 
sity, Cathedral, Gibsons Village and Church and took tea 
with the Simons family. Saturday we returned by boat to 
St. John, a most charming trip. Sunday Aug. 24th, a me¬ 
morable storm raged with great destruction upon the coasts. 
Attended Church and dined with Canon Scovill and went 
with him to service, driving across the suspension bridge 
shaking and swaying in the gale. Monday we went to 
Kingston, still delayed by it in crossing the ferry to the vil¬ 
lage. Saw the old Church where three generations of Sco- 
vills have officiated. Dined with Rev. Wm. Elias Scovill. 
Saw the graves of the old Loyalists in the Church yard to 
whom the Rev. Jas. Scovill preached after he left the 
Church at Waterbury. 

Monday, Sept. 29, 1873. Fifty years of life have sped. 
Henceforth, the journey is on the declining path. Serenly, 
complacently, patiently and endeavoring to do my duty, 
may I await and meet the inevitable result. 

.Friday Dec. 19th. The Courts are about closing for the 
Christmas vacation. Thanksgiving, Nov. 27th, was passed 
at home. On Sunday Dec. 7th, Wm. Edmond Armitage, 
Bishop of Wisconsin, died, aged 43 years. He was an 
amiable, scholarly, sensible, able prelate and will be missed 


[1873 and 1874] 

in the Church. His grandmother, Mrs. Col. Starr of Dan¬ 
bury, Conn., was the half-sister of my Mother, hence his 
name of Wm. Edmond.* In early life he was much at 
Watertown and until later years I have seen him often and 


was much attached to him and was looking forward to some 
period when I would be able to renew our old associations, 
but it is now too late. 

Yesterday was the funeral of Judge Samuel Nelson for 
whom I entertained no ordinary feelings of attachment and 
reverence, but he was over 80 vears of age and had retired 
some months from active life. His work here was com¬ 
pleted when the summons came for him. He was on the 
Bench of the Supreme Court of this State when I was ad¬ 
mitted to practice in May, 1846. 

209 E. 15th St., 
June 5/74. 

My Dear Wife, 

Your letter of June 3, mailed June 4th, arrived last 
evening. I dined with Dr. Roemerf at the Windsor and 
when I left the 5th Ave. was so blockaded with carriages 
at Miss Sterling's wedding in the Church that we were 
delayed. Your cards came too late to send. I sent mine 
and altered one to Mrs. 

Judge Foot has just called, and dines with me at half 
past six and goes with me this evening to Mr. Van Winkles 
reception given Mr. Jno. Jay. 

I hope you all keep well. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

*She was the Polly of great-grandfather Edward’s letters. 

fA great friend of my fathers. A very' learned man whose parentage nobody 
but my father ever knew but he was related to one of the royal families in Europe. 


i . i >ill nr. 

2ir! oon r f is»rlroI nn lo isfciz-Ufirf ?£// r nno t yi ud 




14 W. 20th St. 

My Dear Wife, 

I suppose I shall get your Sunday letter tomorrow, and 
I feel quite anxious to know how you all are. 

Yesterday I took a walk in the middle of the day up the 
Avenue with Gen. Cullam, but it was hot and rainy at the 
same time. In the afternoon I drove alone to the Park, 
and on my return, found Mr. Stoughton had been there and 
left a card asking me to dine with him at 6p2 and saying 
7 would do. When I reached the house I found an English 
official and his wife going in. and I was told by the servant 
the dinner would be at 7, so I returned to the house and 
donned my white choker and dress coat. The guests were 
all English except Gen. McDowell and myself. There 
were two of Sir Ed. Thornton’s Secretaries of Legation 
from Washington, and Captain Gore Jones and his wife, 
the former a cousin of Lord Dufferin and whose mission 
here is to inspect every thing in relation to military and 
naval affairs. He has been engaged already two years, part 
of the time in California, his wife accompanying him. 
I have been in Court all day. The weather has become 
cooler and I think we shall have a pleasant change for the 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Sunday, June 14, 1874. Christmas and New Years 
passed as heretofore. My time has been constantly occu¬ 
pied in the discharge of judicial duties during the years 
until now, when I look forward to rest and vacation in 
Washington for three days with Willy, but passed a share 
of the time in writing and examining in the Law Library 
at the Capitol. 

Thursday, Sept. 17th. On the 23rd of June, last, I 
purchased house No. 14 West 20th St. During the summer 
some repairs have been made and I now hope to soon re- 


J ' O 


ui )o Y^ n£j2no3 flwl 8fifl 3rn 3 .sioioteisfi as bsaacq 

ik ‘/ od} g^hub zs'n > In oi ^u‘[ \o ^tsrbatb orh ni bsiq 

jlool I nsdw ,v. 


move there. I am attached to my old residence, but the 
progress of the Teutonic and Celtic colonies northwards 
compels me to leave. I am the first of my family that has 
moyed away from the house he commenced his married life 
in, as far as I know, but I keep the old house at Watertown. 

The summer has been a cool and delightful one. We 
have passed it at Watertown very pleasantly. Willy has 
now gone to Trinity, Senior year. Holbrook has just en¬ 
tered Yale, the scientific course and Randolph and Kings¬ 
bury have gone to St. Paul's school, Concord. I have been 
here the past two weeks at Chambers. It has been very hot 
every day and is my first realization of actual summer. It 
has been a prolonged spring at Watertown. 

Tuesday, Sept. 29th, 1874. Fifty-one years of age to¬ 
day. A stormy, dark day. Yesterday evening I came to 
town with Mrs Curtis to make some arrangements about 
moving into our new house. I feel reluctance as the day 
approaches, at the idea of quitting the abode where I have 
passed the best years of my life. I trust that a kind Provi¬ 
dence will continue wherever I am, to bless me with his 
bounties and to make me worthy to receive them. 

Thursday Oct. 15, 1874. Slept for the first time at my 
new domicile, 14 West 20th, very soundly with the turmoil 
and trouble of moving. Sorry to leave the house where the 
best years of life have been passed.* 

Thursday Nov. 26th. Thanksgiving Day. Willy and 
Holbrook home from College for the occasion which passed 
very pleasantly. 

Christmas. Willy, Holbrook, and Randolph and 
Kingsbury from St. Paul’s School, all home for Xmas. A 
noisy happy crowd of hungry lads. 

Here is a letter from my mother. 1874 or 1875 

*There was a German band in the boarding house next door in 15th Street 
that was the last straw which drove them out. In some respects they were never 
as comfortable in the 20th Street house. 



ivcaSi bnW c Jsrfl in rti I .it yrn io m*v i?3d ^dt boesisq 

* / ■ -- 

d jjuib’nod 9tii «i bt’Ji'j nercnoO ft ta t 


To Randolph and Kingsbury. 

St. Paul’s School, Concord. N. H. 

14 West 20th St., 

My darling boys, 

Does it not seem good to be able to say next week we are 
coming home. We have not had any cold weather here to 
last more than a few hours, so it is hard to realize you have 
ice and snow in Concord. 

Sanford went to the Mayor’s funeral, so he will be able 
to tell you all about it when you come home. I doubt if 
he has time to write. 

Mary Kingsbury went home yesterday afternoon. Pa¬ 
pa was expecting to go to Hartford yesterday morning to 
a Trustees’ meeting, but he was taken sick Friday night and 
was confined to his room all day. He is better but has not 
Feen out today. He has to begin court again tomorrow and 
has no more vacation until Christmas. I have not heard a 
word from Holbrook since he went back after Thanks¬ 

It will be dark when you arrive Friday night, so per¬ 
haps San* will not be able to meet you at the train, but you 
can come down in a Madison Ave. stage. That is the best 
:and brings you the nearest. 

A good hug for both of you. Remember me to Mr. 
Knox. Find out if he expects to be in New York during 

Your loving mammy, 

M. A. Curtis. 



/I” l> r . / J. 


11874 ] 

Sunday, Apr. 30. 
New York. 

F. Randolph Curtis, 

St. Paul's School 
(from Sanford Curtis) 

Dear Old Ran; 

I hope you and King are well, and that you will for¬ 
give me for not having written before, but I came to New 
York about 2 weeks ago. 

(H is Diary to show Ran what he was doing in New 


Left a dirty hole commonly called “ Pine Meadow”; 
arrived safely l / 2 past one and found Mama would arrive 
at 4 P. M. so I ate my lunch and went to see Aunty Alla 
and the girls who were in town at the Everett House — 
went and bought some flowers for Mama, some violets, 
Heliotrope, and so forth and put in her vases in her room, 
then sat down to wait her arrival. In a little while a car- 
raige drove up and Lena and May — Mama — came 
out. “ ! ! ! ! ! ” She did not know I was coming 

until the next day. 


Went to the Holy Com. in the morning and in the P. M. 
Jack and I went to the 27th Anniversary of St. Georges 
Sunday School. 


Missed you very much (Superlative ). Went to a col¬ 
lection of old china. (Bought several nice pieces for — 
Aunt Maria ($5.75) Aunty K. ($3.50) and one very han- 
some little custard cup for Mama to be given to her on her 
birthday May 30th, from (you) and I. It cost $1.75. If 
wish to give / please send me your I. O. U. for J 4 im¬ 



-nr. i : 713V sno bnc (o^.££) .A yixiuA shsM jnuA 

17 * 75 ] 


Went to the Central Park with Mary, Bee and Mama. 

Towards eve., called on Misses Van-. In the evening, 

called on Maria Bates and found four or five boys there too, 
and about four or five girls. The first I knew the gas was 
turned out and the boys were all kissing the girls “ of 
course ” I was too Bashful to do it and it lasted for 15 min¬ 
utes and then commenced again for 15 more for 2 hours, 
spent a very pleasant evening. Came home at 9:30 o’clock. 
This morning I went to the Holy Com. and this Eve I dine 
at Mr. Caswells. Going to a dance on Friday at Maria 
Bates. Give my best love to King and yourself. Remem¬ 
ber me to all the bovs and teachers. 


With much love, 

E. Sanford Curtis 

Journal W. E. C. 

Sunday, October 10, 1875. Was present at Willy’s 
graduation at Trinity, July 1. Passed the summer quietly 
at Watertown until Sept. 7th, when I held Court in New 
York until Sept. 18th. Weather very hot. Sept. 20th, 
left Watertown and went to the White Mountains with 

Friday, Oct. 29th. Mrs. Charlotte McLean died, a 
much beloved kinswoman. A year and a half younger than 
myself. We were thrown together from early childhood 
until her last illness. She was a most exemplary, kind 
woman, and of sparkling wit and amiable disposition. 

Wednesday, Oct. 17th. Miss PJarriet E. Powell died 
at Mrs. Kingsbury’s, while visiting there. She was an in¬ 
mate of Mr. Scovill’s family and the instructress of Mrs. 
Kingsbury and Mrs. Curtis in their childhood and has 
taught my children and been an inmate of my family much 
of the time the past 13 years. She was discreet, sensible, 
well informed and passed a useful life in the shadow of 
great grief. 


hi nc tr r 3(12 .siarit ^niiiaiv Dfiriv/ f 8 r Tpud 83 fli/i .wM **» 


[ 7^75 a ”d /<?/£] 

Monday, Nov. 22. The Courts adjourned this morning 
upon receipt of the intelligence of the death of Vice-Presi¬ 
dent Wilson. During his last sojourn in New York, a little 
over three weeks since, we dined with Mr. Harris at the 
Union Club. He was in good spirits and cheered with the 
return of health, but I saw at times the weary blank look 
on his face for an instant that told the storv that disease was 
upon him. The next morning, though he had gone from 
the table to speak at a public meeting, he was in fine spirits 
and seemed glowing with his former health and vigor. 

To my surprise he told me that evening, that $8,000 was 
the most he was ever worth, and that he should esteem 
himself fortunate if he could realize $6,000 at the present 
time by selling all he had, and this he said “ is all I have 
to show after twenty-one years of public service,” and it is 
more than he needs and take with him. But he possessed 
the respect and affection of thousands who appreciated his 
kind, warm, honest heart and generous nature. 

Thursday, Nov. 25. Thanksgiving. All the children 
at home, all well, and the day passed pleasantly. 


All well, and twelve of the Curtis name sat down to din¬ 
ner. This includes Mr. Cyrus Curtiss* and his wife and 
son, and daughter-in-law. A pleasant reunion. 

New Year’s, 1876. 

The Commencement of the Centennial Year. A 
charming, sunny, beautiful day, too warm for an overcoat. 
Called on many friends with my son, W. 

Sunday, Feb. 20, 1876. Thus far a mild winter, no 
skating as yet in the Park and but two days sleighing. Mrs. 
Curtis, and Willy left Tuesday, Jan. 25, for St. Augus¬ 
tine. They are situated very pleasantly there, and 
Willy, their escort arrived on the steamer from Charles¬ 
ton a week ago Saturday morning after a smooth passage. 

•No relation but great friends. 





Friday, March 17, 1876. Died in Brooklyn at the 
house of Sam. McLean, Mrs. Sarah Chapman, widow of 
the late Hon. Charles Chapman, aged 75 years. She was 
my only remaining first cousin on my father’s side and the 
mother of Mrs. McLean, whose death I recorded a few 
weeks since. My relatives are fast leaving and old age and 
death daily creep nearer. In Mrs. Chapman I lose a life¬ 
long friend and a much attached kinswoman. From my 
earliest recollections she is associated with my past life at 
Watertown, and then at College, in Brooklyn and in New 
York, and also with much of my son’s college life. She 
had her faults which all sprung from her ardent partizan- 
ship and attachment to the friends or to the political cause 
with which she was allied. She died painlessly and hope¬ 

Sunday, March 28. Mrs. Curtis and children returned 
from Florida and South Carolina the latter part of April 
with Holbrook who went to Aiken to escort them back. 
All the family went last week to Watertown and are now 

14 W. 20th St., New York, 

2 P. M., Thursday, April 3/76. 

My Dear Wife, 


I am at the Library at work, as I shall be for some days. 
Taking a walk this morning, I saw a great crowd of the 
roughest class of people gazing at A. T. Stewart’s house 
and waiting to see the funeral. Suppose they find it hard to 
believe that a man who can conquer millions cannot escape 

Mr. Sherman is making his garden next door, and you 
will find things on your return very different from last 
January. Send me a sweet jessamine flower in your next 
letter. I hope you are all well. Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 



Friday, June 2. Willy became of age to-day. There 
was a little gathering at Mrs. Kingsbury's home in honor 
of the event. I went to Connecticut to be present, and at¬ 
tended with Mrs. Curtis and Mrs. Randolph. The latter 
welcomed, also, his advent 21 years ago. 

Tuesday, July 4, 1876. At 12 last night, I heard the 
salutation given the new century of the Republic, bells, 
cannon, steam whistles, music, fireworks, shouts and singing 
broke out in one grand chorus of welcome. I stood at the 
time on the roof of the high building at the N. E. Co. of 
4th Ave. & E. 15th St. The general illuminations of the 
buildings were fine, but that of the buildings immediately 
surrounding Union Square was magnificent. The vast pro¬ 
cession bearing torches and the faces of acres of human 
beings lighted up by every form of fire works added im¬ 
posing features to the scene. 

A hundred years ago, my grandfather, Wm. Edmond, 
of whom I saw a good deal in my boyhood was in Yale Col¬ 
lege, destined to be crippled for life in the conflicts of the 
then impending struggle. My father’s father had a Lieu¬ 
tenant’s Commission sent to him in one of the Loyalist 
Regiments in New York, and was hunted for months in the 
forests like a wild beast. The Episcopalians were mostly 
attached to the Crown in Connecticut. My wife’s ancester, 
an Epis. Clergyman, “ The Rev. James Scovill,” was badly 
persecuted and ultimately with several sons joined the 
American Loyalists at St. John, N. B. and passed the re¬ 
mainder of his life in that province. A hundred years have 
hardly sufficed to erase from the older portions of the coun¬ 
try, the memory of wrongs inflicted, and acts of cruelty and 
injustice committed during the, to some extent, civil war of 
the Revolution. Who will live to see the veil of forgive¬ 
ness and oblivion covering the bitter remembrances of the 
late Civil War? 

Friday, Sept. 22, 1876. The summer vacation has passed 
away tranquilly. I held Court a few days in July and in 



, I 


Sept., and the death of Chief Justice Monell called me to 
town the ist of Aug. My reading has been Caesar's Com¬ 
mentaries, Life of Macaulay and of Geo. Ticknor and I 
have prepared and delivered two addresses, one at the Bar 
meeting called on Chief Justice Monell's death, Aug. 8th, 
and the other at the reunion of the Survivors of the 2nd. 
Conn. Heavy Artillery at Watertown, Sept. 13. Tuesday, 
last, I visited the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia 
and passed several hours much interested and gratified. In 
the evening I returned to New York, and Wednesday I 
attended Prof. Charles Davies’ funeral at Fishkill Landing. 
I received instruction from him when I was a student at 
Trinity College. My acquaintance with him and his family 
was renewed when I commenced practice and from the time 
of my marriage to his niece, at which he was present twenty- 
five years ago the second day of this month, he has been ever, 
one of my firm and abiding friends. He was by nature, 
kind, affectionate, enthusiastic and devoted to his friends. 
As an instructor at West Point and elsewhere, and as a 
soldier and a mathematician his record is distinguished. 
So pass away the friends of my youth! Perhaps his ad¬ 
vent into the next world will bring him a welcome there 
from Gen. Scott and hosts of his departed old friends who 
have preceded him in the inevitable journey. 

Friday, Sept. 29, 1876. Fifty-three today. A beautiful 
morning. Drove with Mrs. Curtis from Watertown to 
Naugatuck. Bought a pair of horses. Lunched at Mr. 
Kingsbury’s. Leave tomorrow for New York to commence 
my year’s work. Have passed a pleasant summer. Family 
have been well, but the poor Bishop of Nassau was with 
us very sick for six weeks and I fear he will never regain 
his health. My journal of more than 30 years is almost 
finished, perhaps I am. May I be ready for whatever 

Wednesday, Oct. 4, 1876. Was elected by my associates, 
Chief Justice. 


Henry Holbrook Curtis 

Francis Randolph Curtis 


William Edmond Curtis 

Frederick Kingsbury Curtis 

Eustace Sanford Curtis 





[1876 and 1877] 

Thursday, Nov. 30th. Thanksgiving Day. Passed very 
quietly at home. 

Christmas. A wintry day. At church in the morning. 
All the family at the dinner table. May we so meet the 
coming year. 

New Years, 1877. Made calls with my son, William, 
driving very comfortably, but as night approached a severe 
and heavy snow storm interfered with the pedestrian callers. 

Wed. Jan. 31, 1877. Reached Washington at n p. m. 
the next day was at the Capitol when the counting of votes 
for President commenced, but could not enter the hall as 
we had no tickets. Dined with Henry S. Sanford and went 
in the evening to Mr. Secretary Cadwallader's reception. 

Friday morning we passed in the Treasury Building. 
In the afternoon we returned to New York. Willy accom¬ 
panied me and enjoyed the dissipation and sight seeing. 
Mercury about 60 all the time we were in Washington. 

Saturday, April 20, 1877. On Sat. Feb. 24, Mrs. Curtis 
and Mary left for Nassau via Savannah. They returned 
to Savannah some days since and are now en route north 
tarrying at Charleston and intend to reach New York early 
next week if the weather is pleasant. 

In the afternoon we were at Pres. Grant’s reception. 

Sunday, June 10th. On the 1st of this month, my son 
Wm. E. Curtis was sworn in and commenced practice as an 
attorney, being associated in partnership with Mr. Stearns, 
who succeeded to my professional business. We are all 
well. Mrs. Curtis and the little girls at Watertown, and 
the boys at school and college, preparing for their summer 
vacations and examinations. I shall hold jury trials and 
remain here during this month. 

Saturday, Sept. 29, 1877. Fifty-four today. Came from 
Watertown to the City to resume my duties on Monday. 
The summer has sped pleasantly, all the family have con¬ 
tinued in fair health. Mrs. Curtis will join me in a few 

Thursday, Nov. 29th. Thanksgiving. Passed at home 



.2noi)£nim l/.} bns enoiifiosv 
.rilnom girl) gnnub oiot nicrrm 

[■ i§78 ] 

Judges Chambers, New Court House. 

New York, Mch 16th, 1878. 

My Dear Wife — 

I have not heard from Sanford the last few days — Ran¬ 
dolph goes tomorrow to visit him — 

I was at the breakfast this morning, given to Bayard 
Taylor, by a score or so of us at the Century Club. It was 
a very pleasant affair. 

Tonight I have promised to dine at Dr. Thomas’ and 
go with them to see Solon Shingle, or some Solon. Thurs¬ 
day evening I called at “ No. 6 ” and had a very pleasant 
visit. Last night I left a card at the Delafield’s who were 
out, and called at Dr. Thomas’ and after that went to Mr. 
Hamersley’s until 12, and today I have resumed or re¬ 
newed the task of dissipation, to my sorrow. 

Love to all. 

Yours Affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Judges Chambers, New Court House, 

New York, Mch 19th, 1878. 

My Dear Wife, 

Mr. Kingsbury is with me and in pursuance with your 
letter I expect Willy tonight. I have just called on Mr. 
Clift who has been confined to the house by illness the past 
two weeks, rheumatism. 

Mr. Cyrus Curtis seems to be getting much better. 

Mr. Kingsbury left them all well at Waterbury. He 
says Sanford was down on Saturday so I suppose he is get¬ 
ting on well. 

I have accepted three dinner invitations since yesterday 
A. M., viz. Mr. & Mrs. Burnham for the 20th, Mr. E. 
Parsons for the 22d, Judge Van Horn for the 28th. So you 
see I am gradually returning to habits of dissipation. 


- ' 


The day is lovely, and as yet we have no March weather. 
I intend to have the wooden steps removed, and I do not 
recall one day when they have been necessary this winter 
for our comfort or safety. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Christmas. A fine day. At Church in the morning. 
All the children and Mr. and Mrs. Kingsbury and their 
children dined with us in the evening, and Mrs. M. Helena 
Curtis also. May we all meet next year. 

■ New Year’s, 1878. A clear cold day. The past month 
has been fine weather and no snow and but a day’s rain. 
Saw dandelions on the Central Park three days after Christ¬ 
mas. Passed the day driving with Willy and making calls 
on numerous friends. Have had no fire in the furnace, 
weather being so mild. 

Judges Chambers, New Court House, 

New York, Mch. 24th, 1878. 

My Dear Wife, 

We have a warm moist day which is agreeable after the 
long term of dry weather. We have never had such a de¬ 
lightful March in my recollection. You will see by the 
papers the death of Mrs. Edmond Randolph Robinson. 
Mr Godkin told me she died in confinement after two days 

I dined Friday night at Mr. Parsons’. The guests were 
as follows: 

Mrs. Parsons, Peter Cooper, Geo. Morgan, W. E. 
Dodge, Jr., W. E. Curtis, Major Mill am, R. A., Late Secy. 
McCullough, Judge Noah Davis, Mr. Mann, Judge In¬ 
galls, Rev. Dr. Adams, Mr. Parsons. 

Dr. Adams told many amusing anecdotes and it was a 
very pleasant dinner. 


rt ■ ~ 


Last night I called on your Aunt Sarah and told them 
some of Dr. Adams’ stories, which seemed to amuse the 
Misses Stuarts, who found in them a good Presbyterian 
flavor. I then looked into the Century for half an hour and 
returned home to bed. 

Willy went to Sunday School this morning and is now 
at Church. I shall be glad to receive Mary’s letter love to 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Judges Chambers, New Court House. 

New York, Mch. 28th, 1878. 

My Dear Wife, 

We have a mild warm rain this afternoon. 

We spent last evening at the Coleman’s very agreeably. 

Judge Sanford lunched with me today and I said I 
would dine with him on Saturday. Mrs. Robinson’s child 
he said was now very ill. 

I saw Mr. Delafield last night as I looked into the 
Union Club on my way home. He said he was very sorry 
Mrs. D. did not go with you, and that she was now in 


Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Judges Chambers, New Court House. 

New York, Mch. 29, 1878. 

My Dear Wife — 

We had a very pleasant dinner at Judge Van Vorst’s 
last night. John Thomas was the Chef at the table. 
Judges Sedgwick, Curtis, Freedman, Speir Potter, Davis & 
Porter were present and Mrs. Van Vorst, Mrs. Hilton and 
Mrs. V. V.’s mother, whom I have met at your Aunt Ma- 




ria’s and who told me the condition of the latter was very 
critical, never having been as much reduced before as now. 

• ••••• 

Judge Speir and his family came in five days by steamer 
from Havana and arrived last Fridav much benefited he 
says by the jaunt. 

Judge Davis and Judge Brady go to Europe the ist of 

Weather here is bright and pleasant after the gentle rain 
of yesterday. 

Love to Mary. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Saturday March 30, 1878. The winter has passed 

pleasantly. It has been mild and healthy. Mrs. Curtis 
went to Savannah early this month and will remain south 
until the middle of April. 

Sunday May 12, 1878. Mrs. Curtis returned April nth, 
in much improved health. On the 20th, I went to Wash¬ 
ington passing a week there very pleasantly taking Hol¬ 
brook with me. Yesterday I received intelligence of the 
death, on that day, of the Hon. Samuel A. Foot, with whom, 
for many years I had a business connection. The mention 
appears in the entry in this volume of May 13th, 1832. The 
arrangement was beneficial and satisfactory. Our relations 
were never disturbed by the slightest cloud. I now bid 
adieu to my venerable and good friend. 

Judges Chambers, New Court House. 

New York, Mch. 30th, 1878. 

My Dear Wife, 

Last night I called at Dr. Thomas’, found them in, then 
went to Mr. Hamersley’s, found there Generals Prince, 
Cullum, Cesnola, de Peyster, Prof. Waterhouse, Hawkins, 
Talboys of British Legation, Prof. Crosby, Paul Forbes, 


.noilosnnoD mniiud c bsH I ei xn&tn ioi 

.bfloii boog bns aldsiarm oj usibfi 


Paul Du Chaillou, young Hamersley of Hartford, and two 
or three that I did not know. Came away with Du 
Chaillou, and walked home, the longest walk in two weeks. 

• ••••• 

Things are much depressed here and property appears 
to be going from bad to worse. Waterhouse Hawkins is 
pretty destitute. Dr. Thomas says it begins to hurt the 
doctors. People do not send for them as they did. 

Love to Mary. I shall answer here letter soon. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Judges Chambers, New Court House. 

New York, Apl. 3, 1878. 

My Dear Wife, 

I have only time to say we are all well. The weather 
is as fine as one could dream of. 

The Park beginning to glow with flowering shrubs, and 
carpeted with verdure. 

The Kingsbury girls are here, and they had a parlor 
full of beaux last night to entertain. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

14 No. 20 St., 
Oct. 14/78. 

My Dear Wife, 

I hope you found all well on your arrival at Water- 
town and that you have not taken cold in consequence of 
the sudden change to cooler weather. 

I looked in at Mr. Robert L. Stewarts’ for a little while 
last evening, and then went to the Century. Met many 
persons we know there, and was in bed before eleven 
o’clock. This morning a little before nine I started for 
Mr. Delafield’s. The day has been very beautiful, and I 


. • . h;.d u yi: , ii - 

no Itaw Ik bnuol uo^ aqori I 


reached there in time to meet and accompany them to 
Church. I had the pleasure of listening to a very eloquent 
extempore sermon from the Bishop of Kentucky. Called 
at F. Good ridges 1 on our way from Church. 

After lunch Mr. & Mrs. D. and myself walked over the 
ground of some of the finest of the neighboring places, 
which are all beautiful, and returned in time for dinner, 
left at 8 P. M. and reached here at 9:30 only breaking our 
trot up the hills. The moon threw the gas lights in the 
shade and the drive both ways was very delightful. So 
much for my day’s experience. 

Found Mrs. Delafield who was with Mr. D. from Cana¬ 
da much improved but she seemed low spirited. Mr. D’s. 
mother and sister were there, both very agreeable, the for¬ 
mer one of the brightest and best educated women I ever 

I will add to this if anything presents in the morning. 
Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Judges Chambers, New Court House. 

7:30 P. M. New York, Oct. 20, 1878. 

My Dear Wife, 

Yesterday I staid in the house except to drive Mr. Wm. 
P. Powers to the Park late in the afternoon. My solar sys¬ 
tem was damaged by the decayed oysters the butcher pro¬ 
vided Margaret with for our Friday’s fasting. 

Love to Mary & Bessie. 

I am yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Saturday June 14th, 1878. I have just come from the 
funeral of my old friend, Wm. Cullen Bryant. He died 
on Thursday, aged 83. We were pall bearers at Mr. Ver- 


[ l8jS and l8jQ] 

planck’s funeral 8 years ago. How those whose society 
charmed me at “ The Century ” have passed away. My 
journal is a mortuary record. There leavetakings are fre¬ 
quent, and mine will come how soon? 

My son, Holbrook, went to Europe per steamer Abys¬ 
sinia on Wednesday to pursue his professional studies. He 
accompanies Dr. Francis Bacon, of New Haven, in whose 
office he is a student. 

Sunday, Sept. 29, 1878. Fifty-five years old today. 
Am at Watertown where the summer vacation has passed 
away pleasantly. All well. 

Sunday, Nov. 17th. Attended Trinity College Trus¬ 
tees’ meeting in the New Buildings yesterday. Saw three 
columns standing, all that remained of the old chapel and 
Buildings. Family removed here from Conn, two weeks 
ago yesterday. 

Monday, March 3, 1879. On the 27th of Nov. I was 
taken ill with an abscess of the right ear. Suffered much 
pain. Erysipelas of the head commenced Dec. 8th and 
continued for several weeks with increased pain and total 
blindness from the swelling of my face for about a week. 

I am now better, drive out in a closed carriage every 
day and hope to walk out soon. I have suffered great pain 
and am grateful to kind Providence that I am no worse. 

Thursday, April 7th, 1879. The TIt ^ °f March I left 
for Charleston. I remained until the 11th of April, when 
I left for New York arriving at 10:30 p. m., April 12. 
Mrs. Curtis and Mary accompanied me. Am strengthened 
and refreshed by my journey, but not cured. It seems cold 
and wet here after a month of sunshine and warm weather. 
I hope in a few days to resume my public duties. 

3rd. Journey to Europe. 

May 7, 1879. Left New York with my son, William, 
on board the Scythia and arrived in Liverpool on the 17th 
after a very tranquil and pleasant passage. Made a plea- 


.Itev/ 1IA .ybn^csrq yaws 

bloD tl .bairn Jon Kid ,yomuo \ ym yd bodzailoi bnc 

■ r: 3 n i dO ‘ ) > /. v/ >> a fil >.; .1 i 




Judge William Edmond Curtis 




sant visit at Oxford. Passed 9 days in London. May 31st, 
went to Paris. June 9th, went to Geneva. July 10th, went 
to Neufchatel and thence to Basle and July nth to Heidle- 
berg. 14th inst. to Mayence, 15th to Cologne, 16th to Brus¬ 
sels, 21 st inst. to London, crossing the Channel in a wild 
storm. Ill in London. 26th inst., went to Brighton. 30th 
inst., went to Ventnor, Isle of Wight. Aug. 4th, went to 
Salisbury. 7th went to Leamington, nth inst., went to 
York. 12th inst., to Edinburgh, 16th to Keswick and 21st 
inst. to Liverpool. Sailed for New York Aug. 30th, and a 
stormy passage with head winds; we reached home Sept. 
2nd. All well but Sanford. 

White Hart Hotel, 

Wednesday, Aug. 6th, 1879 

My Dear Wife: 

I was made happy this morning by the receipt of yours 
of July 24th and 25th from Block Island. I was glad to 
learn of your renewed health, and hope you will stay there 
as long as you receive benefit. Don't be afraid of growing 
stout, in fact you and Alla look the better for it. I wish 
I could have been at Block Island with you, but I do not 
intend to bother about what I cannot help. Monday we 
went by sail to Cowes, then by steamer to South Hampton 
and thence by rail to this place. I had not forgotten this 
cathedral which pleases me the most of any, but yet I found 
so much to admire that I overlooked before, that I feel that 
I am fully compensated. Tuesday-W. and I drove nine 
miles out to Stonehenge over the plains and hills of Salis¬ 
bury, seeing multitudes of black-faced sheep feeding on the 
grass, and watched by weather-beaten shepherds and shep¬ 
herdesses, most of them eating large slices or chunks of 
bread. Not romantic. We returned passing the ancient 
Saxon and Roman fortified hill of old Sarum. This morn¬ 
ing W. and I drove 12 miles down the river Avon to Mrs. 


-qsrla bn^ % nsdqaite noXfiod-idfhjttv/ vd h ;>ifiw bru; ,8?£is 

.mimS bk> o Hid baft inert nfimo# bnB noxsS 

17 * 70 ] 

Venable's residence. A charming drive through the love¬ 
liest part of England, only three showers on the way. Such 
sheep and such turnips. We found Mrs. Venable’s mother 
and her sister, Miss King, and Holbrook and Mrs. V. soon 
came in. We lunched there very pleasantly and returned 
in alternate sunshine and showers at 4 p. m. H. arrived 
there on Monday, has made a painting of the place, and has 
accepted invitations for all the time until he leaves there 
next Tuesday, and seems well and busy. He sees the inside 
of the houses of the country families, a privilege seldom ac¬ 
corded to passing travellers. I intended to have done some 
more visiting in England, but it is too cold and wet for me. 
Shall probably go from here tomorrow to Bath or Leaming¬ 
ton. Mrs. and Miss K. left by rail for her son’s this P. M. 
but will stay at this hotel until tomorrow and I find an in¬ 
vitation for W. and myself to take coffee with them this 

Love to all. Thank Mary for her sweet letter to me. 
W. is out for a walk. 

Yours affectionately, 

Wm. E. Curtis. 

Monday, Sept. 29th, 1879. Fifty-six years old today. 
Am at Watertown and have attended to judicial duties 
through September. 

Sunday, Oct., 12th. Mrs. Curtis and Randolph are 
with Sanford in the Adirondacks. Will, Holbrook and 
myself are keeping house in New York. 

Thursday, Nov. 27, 1879. Thanksgiving Day. Passed 
in town quietly with my family. A year ago today I was 
taken ill; though yet suffering from its legacies I 'give thanks 
for this prolongation of my life for the sake of my family. 

Christmas, 1879. Clouds and rain confine me to the 
house. Randolph has gone to the Adirondacks to visit San¬ 
ford who remains there hoping to restore his health in the 
atmosphere of the forests. The rest of the family are here 
making merry over Christmas. 


rbu3 n odi no novrodi andi vino t bne f ^n3 io iisq Uoil 

bavins .H .rn .q |» is eiawoda bns anidtnu* aJsmaHc ni 

Mrs . William Edmond Curtis 










New Year’s, 1880. The afternoon sunshine tempted 
me to make a few calls. Temperature mild and visits agree¬ 
able. This ancient custom is dying out apparently. 

The End. 

It is seldom that a man succeeds in being the sort of 
person and having the career that he wished; but from the 
meeting of the Bar Association, and the newspaper clip¬ 
pings after my father’s death, it seems as though he had at¬ 
tained everything in life that he most desired. 

None of his children died before him, but the following 
year, Eustace Sanford, who was born in i860, and who out¬ 
grew his strength, measuring six foot four at fifteen, died 
in July at Watertown. Francis Randolph was the next in 
1892, then Mary Alathea in 1916, Holbrook 1920, and Wil¬ 
liam 1923. 

The last thing my father did was to go to Commence¬ 
ment at Trinity. My mother accompanied him and in her 
calendar she wrote under that date “ my last happy day.” 
After an illness of less than a week my father passed quietly 


(New York World—July 10th, 1880.) 

Many New York Judges and Lawyers at the Funeral of the 
Seventh Chief Justice of the Superior Court. 

Chief Justice William E. Curtis was buried yesterday 
after services at his summer residence, the old homestead 
of the Curtis family at Watertown, Conn. A special car 
attached to the 8:05 New Haven express train from New 
York took up a large party of New Yorkers, including the 
Associate Judges of the Superior Court, John J. Freedman, 
Gilbert M. Speir, Hooper C. Von Vorst and John Sedg¬ 
wick, Judge Sanford being unavoidably absent, and among 
others, Edwin W. Stoughton, Abram S. Hewitt, Aaron J. 
Vanderpoel, Charles Tracy, Lewis L. Delafield, W. P- 


bsjqmoJ sniff?nua noomsliu sri i .0881 f e f iBsY wt> 
-ssigc ?i / bns blirn sirjimsqmsT .*11v/sl b s^em ol sm 

Tioilt iud jbsrteiw sri jcrit issibd srii gnivsrf bns noaisq 


Power, H. P. Marshall, J. S. Stearns, Judge R. S. Larre- 
more, of the Common Pleas, ex-Judge Davies, Professor 
John C. Draper, of the College of the City of New York, 
and Mrs. Draper. Thomas Boese, the Clerk of the Superior 
Court, is in Canada. A. T. Warburton, the stenographer 
of the court since the introduction of stenographic reports 
some twenty years ago, Wilson Small, William Haviland 
and J. McK. McCarthy of the clerk’s office, and Court Offi¬ 
cers McDonald and Hallahan were of the party. At Bridge¬ 
port and other places accessions to the party were received, 
among them Dr. W. W. Williams, of St. George’s Church, 
in this city, of which Judge Curtis was a Vestryman; Dr. 
Pynchon, President of Trinity College, Hartford; Pro¬ 
fessors E. E. Johnson and Samuel Hart, also of Trinity 
College, of which Judge Curtis had been a Trustee; Charles 
R. Chapman, of Hartford; Wm. Watson, E. M. Scudder, 
W. H. Scott, W. D. Edmonds, A. D. Appleton, Professor 
Francis Wayland, of the Yale Law School; F. J. Kingsbury 
of Waterbury, a brother-in-law of Mrs. Curtis; L. W. Cut¬ 
ler of Watertown, and Chief-Justice O. S. Seymour, of 

It had been the expressed wish of Judge Curtis that 
there should be no funeral oration or address of any kind 
and simply the Episcopal burial service was read. The 
pall-bearers were E. W. Stoughton, A. S. Hewitt, A. J. 
Vanderpoel, Chas. Tracy, Judge Hooper C. Van Vorst, L. 
L. Delafield, Judge Gilbert M. Spier, N. P. Power, Judge 
John J. Freedman, Judge Sedgwick, H. P. Marshall, J. S. 
Stearns and Judge R. L. Larremore. In and about the 
house were many friends of the family from Watertown 
and the neighborhood. The remains lay in the parlor in an 
oaken casket covered with black cloth. Christ Church 
stands just across the village green and as 4 o’clock the bell 
began to toll from the modest church tower the casket was 
carried over to the church, followed by the pall-bearers 
and by the 7 children and the widow of the dead Judge. 


ioie^oi c I 8D(V£d ‘jgbut-zo # g£3l c I nornmoD srfl \o ^iom 

oHi f nonoditW .*1 .A .ubKiir» ) ni ii <Uuo'J 

jovial :r r ym ori ol snoienso ?dDfiiq isrilo bnis noq 


The procession was met at Christ Church door by the Rev. 
R. J. Stoddard, the pastor; Dr. Pynchon, of Hartford, and 
Dr. Williams, of New York. The church was filled. The 
hymn selected for the service was Dr. Muhlenberg's I 
Would not Live Alway.” At the conclusion of the service 
the procession was reformed and the coffin was carried to 
the Evergreen Cemetery a little way down the road, and 
here in a grave beside his father and mother the Chief- 
Justice was laid. 

On the way back to the city Mr. Abram S. Hewitt said 
of Chief Justice Curtis: “ He was a good, average man, 
well balanced morally, mentally and physically. He was 
capable of any amount of work, and was never weary of 
working. Whatever he did undertake to do he did thor¬ 
oughly, honestly and conscientiously, and how well thou¬ 
sands of his clients know. He was more particularly skilled 
in commercial law and in the application of the law to 
manufacturing concerns. He was a French scholar, and 
having business which took him to France, made long visits 
there. He was a member of the Century Club in New York, 
and of the Manhattan and Union Clubs. He made a spe¬ 
cial study of education, and besides being for a time Presi¬ 
dent of the New York Board of Education, made an intelli¬ 
gent study of educational systems abroad and was never tired 
of stydying the methods and text-books of other countries. 
This interest he continued up to the time of his death, and 
only a week or two ago he was up at Hartford and down 
at Yale to see his son, F. Randolph Curtis, graduated. His 
five sons — William E., Holbrook, F. Randolph, Sanford 
and Kingsbury—have each of them been well educated. 
William E. Curtis is now a practicing lawyer. Holbrook 
is a young physician with a thorough schooling here and 
abroad. Randolph will follow the law. Chief-Justice 
Curtis was a member of the Geographical and Historical 
societies, and a working member too. He never held a 
political office except that of Judge of the Superior Court. 


)n bir fcmH to f no ony 4 ! .iQ poieeq ori) t b*ifibbot3 .[ . 

3'j; r .V i )o i’oigubnoD orit lA 

b/ioi 3 fit nwob yew olttil e yistomaD od* 



He did not seek the judgeship, but just at that time in 1871, 
the people were determined to have honest men in office, 
and I went to Mr. Curtis and urged him to accept the nomin¬ 
ation. He was proposed by Appollo Hall and ratified by 
the Republicans, while Mr. Sedgwick was proposed by the 
Republicans and was accepted by the Democrats. He had 
an interest in the Scovill Brass Works at Waterbury, and 
in other of the manufacturing establishments along the 
Naugatuck River. He was for many years the private 
counsel of Chas. Goodyear, the original india rubber paten¬ 
tee. When he was elected to the bench he gave up his 
private practice/’ 


(Law Register, Oct. 27, 1880) 

A largely attended meeting of the members of the Bar 
of this city, in memory of the Late Chief Judge William 
E. Curtis, was held yesterday afternoon in the General 
Term room of the Supreme Court. The Judges of the Su¬ 
preme, Superior, Common Pleas and Marine Courts and 
Court of General Sessions entered in a body by the side door, 
taking seats within the railing surrounding the Bench. 
Mr. Delafield called the meeting to order, and named Chief 
Justice Davis, of the Supreme Court, as chairman. The 
following gentlemen were chosen as vice-presidents, and 
took their seats upon the bench: 

Hon. John Sedgwick, Chief Judge of the Superior 
Court; Hon. Chas. P. Daly, Chief Judge of the Court of 
Common Pleas; Hon. Samuel Blatchford, Judge of the 
United States Circuit Court; Hon. Wm. G. Choate, Judge 
of the United States District Court; Hon. Charles L. Bene¬ 
dict, Judge of the United States District Court, Hon. De¬ 
lano C. Calvin, Surrogate; Hon. Frederick Smyth, Re¬ 
corder; Hon. H. A. Gildersleeve, City Judge. 

Mr. Brainerd nominated as secretaries Mr. Clifford A. 
Hand, Mr. John L. Cadwalader and Mr. John McL. Nash. 


,i^8i ni 3mil Jcrfl Jb iguj }ud c qidi3gbif( sd* Assi Jon bib 3H 
ni mm Jgsnorf avsd ol bonirrmJab 5137/ tdqooq aril 


Mr. Charles Tracy offered the following resolution, which 
was unanimously adopted: 

RESOLVED : That the Hon. William E. Curtis, dur¬ 
ing his practice at the Bar in this city for more than twenty- 
five years, and his service for the last eight years on the 
Bench of the Superior Court, of which he was Chief Judge 
since October, 1876, by his ability, learning, integrity and 
courtesy, gained our strong respect and esteem; and we share 
largely in the public sorrow caused by his death. His 
balanced mind and calm temper bore the labors and cares, 
sometimes perplexing, of the judicial office with patience, 
impartiality and dignity; and in private life, his pure 
character, high principles, varied attainments and true re¬ 
finement and modesty, made him attractive as a companion 
and personal friend. It is a grateful, though sad, duty, as 
he passes from among us, thus to record our appreciation 
of his public and private worth. 

Judge Van Vorst, in speaking to the resolution said: 

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Bar: It is emin¬ 
ently fitting that the death of a good Judge should not be 
allowed to pass without appropriate notice and action by 
his contemporaries of the Bar and Bench. The memory of 
those who have well filled their part in the administration 
of justice and in the responsible and useful places of life 
should be dearly cherished and sedulously preserved. I 
have yeilded to wishes of my brethren in the Court over 
which Judge Curtis lately presided, in appearing today to 
speak of its appreciation of his excellent character and 
qualities as a citizen and a Judge, and to express its sense 
of the great loss it has sustained in his death. 

Chief Justice Curtis was born in Litchfield County, 
Conn., in September 1823. He was descended from worthy 
ancestors, who came to this country as early as the year 1632, 
and settled Stratford, Conn. Among them are to be found 
both legislators and Judges, whose lives reach back to the 
early days in our national history. His grandfather rep- 



orij no ei£T( Jrigi* Iasi aril io\ wivis* gid bns ( «ib^ svfl 

;/> bns ?iod k f lod loqrmj mlcD bnim bsDnslfid 

: i '- • l' •- i U i. : 16 21 ,f ' cl- *;i dJC 1 


resented Connecticut in Congress towards the close of the 
last century, and was for many years one of the Judges of 
the Supreme Court of Errors in that State, and his great 
grandfather, Benjamin Paine, in colonial days, sat with 
the Governor in the High Court of Appeals in the colony 
of Connecticut. His father, Holbrook Curtis, was a sound 
lawyer, and was held in the highest esteem as a man in the 
county in which he lived. He, too, in the end attained to 
judicial station in the community which demanded his 
services. The traditions and spirit of such preceding lives 
must needs leave their indelible mark upon those who 
spring from them. And Wm. E. Curtis was truly loyal 
to the good name and report of his ancestors, and has left 
in the record of his own life no act to mar the fairness of his 
family escutcheon. He was well educated in the broad 
sense in which that term is used with us. He was graduated 
at Trinity College, Conn. But his education did not end 
with his college days, nor did he on receiving his diploma 
lay aside his books. He was always a thoughtful student. 
His aim appeared to have been to thoroughly educate him¬ 
self for a life of extended usefulness in every walk and re¬ 
lation. So that he was not only a good Latin scholar and 
familiar with the Greek, but he also acquired a familiar 
knowledge of the French, Spanish and other modern 
languages. As it was his intention, early formed, to study 
and practice the profession of the law in the City of New 
York, he-knew well enough how serviceable to him and 
others — with whom in the prosecution of a commercial 
practice he might be brought in communication — would 
be a familiar knowledge of the modern languages. He 
studied law in this city with that admirable and highly 
gifted lawyer and advocate, William Curtis Noyes, and was 
admitted to the practice of the profession in the year 1846. 
One cannot speak too warmly of his character as a coun¬ 
sellor in his profession, and as an advocate. His practice 
was large, not only in the State but in the Federal Courts. 



; 05*0 3 aril *J»«woj ?i 5l§ noO nf JrotoannoD b^n M31 N 


And all who had business relations with him, lawyers and 
clients, individuals and corporations, bear uniform testi¬ 
mony to the fairness of his dealings, and to his intelligent 
and upright conduct on all occasions. He seemed to have 
an intuitive idea of right and justice, from which he never 
swerved. He was a safe guardian of every interest com¬ 
mitted to his management, and allowed no selfish purpose to 

swerve him from entire justice to others. This sentiment 


was carried in instances to self-sacrifice. He was a large- 
minded-man, and the current of his thoughts and action 
was limited by no narrow bounds; it deepend and widened 
according to the subject he was called upon to consider. 
But although he was actively engaged in the practice of 
law, and never slighted the demands it made upon his time 
and thoughts, he was not unmindful of other claims and 
interests upon him outside of his profession. He was the 
head of a large household, well managed and ordered. The 
affairs of his family were ever near his heart, and were 
affectionately and wisely adjusted. He was a tender hus¬ 
band and a kind and considerate father. He took, as one 
would well suppose he might, a deep interest in the cause 
of common school education, and was for several years a 
Commissioner of Education, and finally became the presi¬ 
dent of its board, and kept up until the last his concern 
for the system. He quite well understood the duty of the 
State with regard to the education of its youth, and the 
caution needed in wisely administering the system so that 
the true end should be reached — the formation of an intel¬ 
ligent and upright citizenship. And when, after a con¬ 
siderable practice at his profession, he had reached an age 
and gained an experience which fitted him for the station, 
the advocate with an unblemished record was advanced, by 
the choice of the community and with the approval of the 
Bar, to be a Judge of the Superior Court. This office he 
had held, at the time of his death, for a period of eight years 
and upwards. The volumnes of the reports of the Court in 


j "£ I e rn!ri rliiw enoilistai eesnisud bsa oil// IIb bnA 

moil t 33iuui bnfi uhj'n io jrabi oviliulni ns 

iriq Au !v ( n bdwolls briB .Jnsms ji nsm aid oj bsDirn 
.eianjo o* 33imi[ aulno men. mid 3v*i3W2 




which, in the end, he came to be Chief Justice, contain the 
opinions and judgments pronounced by him in many im¬ 
portant controversies, and exhibit the truly judicial training 
and cast of his mind, and bring out in clear relief the sound 
sense, the clear intelligence, and the prevailing love of 
justice and equity which always influenced his judgment. 
No technical quibbles, no refinements of casuistry, could 
break into the notions of right and wrong which is own com¬ 
mon sense suggested to him. The most of you who are now 
present, and who have often appeared before him, have ob¬ 
served his dignified and courteous deportment on the Bench, 
as well as the ever-present patience and considerate atten¬ 
tion which characterized him when he presided at trials. 
He never ceased to be the true gentleman. Not only coun¬ 
sel engaged, young and old, but parties, witnesses and jury¬ 
men, shared the quieting influence of his conduct and bear¬ 
ing as a Judge. In the causes tried before him on the equity 
side of the Court, which often demand consideration, and 
on appeals to the General Term, he was always prompt in 
rendering his decisions. This proceeded from his thorough 
training and business habits, strengthened by the conviction 
that tardy justice was often its virtual denial. In his con¬ 
sultations with his brethren he was always ready at the ap¬ 
pointed time with his opinions. I have rarely known of an 
instance of failure in this regard. He was always prepared 
to give a respectful consideration to dissenting views. He 
would not cling tenaciously or unreasonably to a conclusion 
which he had reached. In the presence of a sounder and 
better view, he would yield. His judicial office and duties 
always received his first attention, and although interested 
in other concerns, he never allowed them to interfere with 
his obligations to the Court. I have said that even during 
his judicial term other interests of moment engaged him. 
Societies and associations, literary, social, scientific and 
benevolent, all held an appropriate place in his regard, 
and their claims were acknowledged and satisfied. Now 



loir.qaiq zybv/Ie 8bw all .fmgn ?.idj ni nuiifil lo aoitfiieni 


such a character as we find developed in Judge Curtis would 
still be incomplete without a religious element, and this 
prevailed in him to a large degree. But, although his faith 
was clear and distinct and according to the traditions of his 
ancestors, yet it was broad, and made no approach to bigo¬ 
try. His ideas were Catholic. He was charitable in his 
judgments of others, and ever respected their honest opin¬ 
ions as to questions subjective or objective. He lived and 
died in the faith of his fathers, and from his father’s house, 
which he had inherited, surrounded by its lawns and trees, 
in the beautiful village of Watertown, and which he so 
much loved, and to which he always gladly went when the 
summer vacation arrived, his remains, surrounded by a sor¬ 
rowing family, were borne to the church on the adjoining 
square. This church was well filled on that bright summer 
morning with the people of the place, many of whom had 
known him in his early life and looked upon his career of 
usefulness and honor in this metropolis with interest and 
pride, and who had come to take a last farewell of him on 
earth, and to accompany the casket which contained his 
remains to its quiet resting place in the neighboring ceme¬ 
tery. He died and was buried as we may well consider he 
could have wished. The late Chief Justice of the Court 
of Appeals, at the summons of the angel of death, left the 
judicial work upon which he was at the moment engaged. 
That summer rest to which Judge Curtis looked forward, 
at Watertown, to fit him for the discharge of duties in the 
fall, he has exchanged for the unbroken rest which eternity 
unfolds to the wearied ones of this mortal life. What can 
I say more of our departed friend? His commanding 
presence, his excellent judgment, his social virtues, his 
pure conversation enriched by extensive reading and much 
observant travel, his sympathetic nature and kind offices, 
remain with us now only as a memory. I lay these few 
leaves, moistened with tears, upon his bier, upon which are 
written our precious thoughts of him, and the lasting regard 





in which his memory is held among those who knew him 
well. There is no foul spot to sully the fair record of his 
life. It is clear and stainless as the lawn which symbolizes 
his office. We, upon whom the warm light of his life fell, 
and who were strengthened by his unfaltering purpose “ to 
do justly, love mercy and walk humbly, 5 ' may well deplore 
his death and seek to preserve to others who come after, for 
their guidance, comfort and encouragement, the record of 
a good and a true life as a man, an advocate and a Judge. 

Mr Henry J. Scudder spoke feelingly of his recollec¬ 
tions of the Chief Justice, running through years of excep¬ 
tional intimacy, and referring to his love of the classics, 
related that in joining in the worship in the Episcopal 
Church, which he attended, Mr. Curtis uttered the re¬ 
sponses in the Greek tongue. 

Mr. A. J. Vanderpoel, who next spoke, in the course of 
his remarks, said: “ Four years since, you presided at the 
meeting of the Bar convened on the occasion of the death 
of Chief Justice Monell. Judge Curtis met with us, and 
was assigned by his brother members of the Court to ex¬ 
press their sorrow in their bereavement. The aptness and 
beauty of his address on that occasion was striking. It was 
a just tribute to one whom your Honor then characterized 
as ‘ a man who worthily bore the great honors he worthily 
enjoyed 5 a sentiment which applies equally well to his 

Mr. Edwin W. Stoughton, the next speaker, referred in 
glowing terms to the high character and noble qualities of 
the Chief Justice and among other things said: u He was 
so gentle and so kind, never uttering a harsh word, always 
forgetting himself, never seeming to be absorbed in any¬ 
thing or by anything but the desire to make those about 
him happy. On the Bench, we all know his record. I 
believe the younger members of the Bar loved him, and 
those who were before him or occupied exalted position 
upon the Bench know how grateful the younger members 



rr! orfw aaorfj snoms bbrf ei fiorarn tirf rbirf w ni 

2 ji q ^ rn r.lnu eirf vd b*>ti3dt§n;m« w/r orivr bnn 
1 '/ J J ' 1 '• i131 J » o» ‘’viaa-jiq oj Jsv-: Lns diesb eiiT 


. • ' !■ ’ . , 

[ 1886] 

of the Bar are for kindness, and they know how a little un¬ 
kindness wounds and how long it takes for such wounds to 
heal. They know that the gratitude which a young man 
feels for kindness from distinguished members of the Bench 
lasts during his life. I have some such memories. They 
never grow less.” 

Mr. John E. Parsons then offered the following resolu¬ 
tion, which was carried: 

RESOLVED. That a copy of the resolutions be fur¬ 
nished to the family of the late Chief Judge Curtis, and 
that a record of the proceedings of this meeting be 
presented to the General Term of the Superior Court, 
with the request that it be entered upon the minutes 
of that Court. 


-nu al)iil g wod wond yarii bnc .eeanbniJ lot sis uj 8 aril io 

n^m gnuoif g dpidw abuiiiGig adt iGril wo/ul yadT lead 

,WT .2311001301 doi/2 30102 ovuri I .oiil airi gnhub 2)2 bI 
-u^3i gnivyollol orb bsisfto noril znoeis*! ,H nrio^ .iM 




[ i893] 

William Edmond Curtis, Jr. was born in New York 
June 2nd, 1855, graduated from Trinity College, Hartford, 
1877 B. A., in 1878 M. A., and in 1902 L.L. D. He began 
the practice of law with his father’s former associate, Mr. 
James Stearns, and was more or less interested in politics 
when Mr. Cleveland appointed him assistant secretary of 
the Treasury in 1893. He had already shown an aptitude 
for financial problems and with an extremely clear mind 
that seized upon the vital point of any question, was well 
fitted to assume responsibility. It was always a regret 
to his family that he never became a judge, for his careful, 
logical, view of a situation would have rendered his opinion 
of great value. When in the Autumn of 1894 it became ap¬ 
parent that Congress would do nothing to come to the res¬ 
cue of the Treasury, of which the gold reserve was so de¬ 
pleted by the Sherman law and the silver men of the West, 
that the country would have been bankrupt in one month; 
my brother began to investigate what had been done 
after the Civil War in a like emergency. He discovered 
that there was a law (section 3700) which had never been 
repealed, which enabled Congress to sell bonds abroad and 
import the necessary gold in that way. Being already in 
touch with the New York bankers, (Mr. Carlisle was 
from Kentucky and also had other affairs on his hands) Wil¬ 
liam suggested, and, with the assistance of Mr. Morgan and 
Mr. Belmont, put through, the sale of bonds in England 
that saved the country in an hour of need. Mr. Francis 
Lynde Stetson told an old family friend that William went 
to him and urged him in his capacity as Mr. Morgan’s 
lawyer to convince him of the necessity for the bankers 
coming to the assistance of the government and of the le¬ 
gality of statute 3700. Mr. Morgan gallantly stepped into 
the breach, demonstrating to Mr. Cleveland the expediency 
of this method of procedure and the impending ruin did the 
gold give out. Mr. Jordan, the Ass. Treasurer at New York, 
had planned with William buying gold bars to stave off the 


Y vn'I ni mod sbv/ .i\ ,iinuO bnomb3 msiiliW 

William Edmond Curtis 



crash and at this time he wrote to him in his own hand eight 
or more pages of reports every day. The terrible anxiety 
of all who were cognizant of the threatened catastrophe 
breathes from every word. Bryan was called the friend of 
the people, but if by his short sighted free silver policy the 
people had gone hungry and poor, what would then have 
been his title? When “ the great Commoner ” sent word 
to the Kaiser by Von Bernstoff in 1917 that the Country was 
not with President Wilson and that we did not wish to fight 
Germany, he showed the same sublime crookedness of vision 
that caused his espousal of the Anti-Evolution doctrine in 
the South. Although Cleveland and his cabinet were for 
sound money to a man, Mr. Hamlin, Will’s confrere, the 
second assistant secretary, went over to Bryan and made 
speechifying tours through Massachusetts for his election. 
William’s speeches at various public dinners, etc., eluci¬ 
dating the financial situation, are most excellent documents, 
and are all preserved in the scrap book which my mother 
had made of clippings about his career. Plere is a letter 
from her in regard to his Treasury apointment. 

Charleston Hotel, 

Charleston, S. C., 

March 30, 1893. 

My Dear Will, 

All your letters to Berwick arrived this morning. You 
must make your own decision as to what is best for yourself, 
without regard to me. I think it a point on which you only 
can judge. If you do not take the place yourself, cannot 
you get it for Monroe. I would certainly not take any ap¬ 
pointment in New York. I am feeling much better, in fact 
feel very well today. It is cool and delicious. I think it 
very complimentary to have the place offered you. I only 
hope people will know that to be the fact, and not think 
you worked for spoils or have been running on to Wash¬ 
ington seeking for it. I am glad you get a little fun out 


Lnei’ nv/o g‘d ni mid o) atoiw ad amij gidi Jk bms dsci^ 

ariqcnJgmj banolfiaidj odt io insxin^oo aiav/ odv/ 11s \o 
a.Il . >1 : yn) baldgia noda aid yd ii jud T a{qoaq adi 

Saljij girl naad 


of it for you certainly worked very hard in the winter. I 
think if you can, I would go to Chicago. Reports are so 

Your loving Mama 

To Mrs. W. E. Curtis 
1740 M Street 
D. C. 

Madison Square 

Sunday Feb. 25th 1894 

Dear Mother, 

I have had a very lively time. The mercury was io° 
at 3 p. m. yesterday with a high wind & my ulster was most 
useful. The Opera was superb on Friday night & H. 
(Holbrook) & I went to the Vaudeville Club afterwards 
& had a regular spree. I dined at the Democratic Club 
last night & attended the entertainment here. The latter 
lasted till 3 a. m. 

I am overwhelmed with invitations on all sides for din¬ 
ners, theatres, &c but I am pretty busy. Yesterday I did 
not go down town. Tell Carter to get you the Tribune of 
last week which contained the attack upon the assistant 
Secretary’s carriages. The Republicans 'used them for 
twenty years! 

Love to all. 

Yours Aff’y 

(Sgd) Will. 

P. S. 

Harry Marshall said last night that Bess is considered 
a genius & he has heard artists, who have seen her work, say, 
that she is one of the “ coming artists of the country.” 


II | "• [VW 

iu)niw #di ni bi*rt yiav basliow ylnitiiM ooy iol li to 
og ais gnoqs^ .03*3110 ol 03 biuow I .nso uoy li dnirfj 




June 26th, 1894. 

Dear Mother: 

I have your amusing letter about the dream. I see 
no prospective realization of it. Pity it is not a satisfactory 
person! Next time it will probably be a negress! I spent 
nearly two hours with the President yesterday after office 
hours and the result is in the papers today. Mr. Carlisle 
got back late last night. I dined at the Club and did not 
get to the Inn until 10:30 p. m. I had a breeze all night, 
and I think the arrangement fine and a great relief to me. 
I have a bunch of your letters in my pocket which 
I have not had time to answer carefully, but hope to do so 
in a day or two. Tryon, Rush and Rogers are coming out 
to dine with me tonight. I will look out for a seat in 
Church. I may go to New York this week for a day. 
Cannot tell yet. Wike goes ofI for a month July 1st, and 
the Secretary and I are to run things alone. 

Love to all, 

Yours affectionately, 


P. S. The President is very well and in fine spirits and 


July 7th, 1894. 

Dear Mother: 

I was awfully busy yesterday and did not get a minute 
to write you a line. The Secretary came here with his 
clerk for a few minutes today and did a little business. He 
goes to the President this afternoon. 

We are all very much bothered by the strikes at Chica¬ 
go, and elsewhere, but the newspaper reports are fright¬ 
fully exaggerated. I think Altgeld ought to be whipped. 





302 I .rmjoib orit JiiodjB io)JoI gnizums tuo^ overi I 

I J8Q4\ 

I had a long talk with the President yesterday at the Secre¬ 
tary’s request. He proposes to stand up and stamp this 
out if it takes the whole army and militia to do it. I wired 
you this morning that I was busy yesterday and could not 

Col. Monroe turned up this morning and I asked him 
to go out with me to Chevy Chase this evening to dine. 
Saw Lamont this morning. He has his hands full. 

Yours affectionately, 



July io, 1894. 

Dear Mother: 

I stopped in town last night and enjoyed the coolness. 
Had some fine tennis with the Att. Gen. et al. in the after¬ 
noon, and I hope for golf today. The reports show the 
•situation is improving, but if all the trades unions in the 
country are called out, as they proposed, I do not know what 
may be the result. They are not getting the sympathy 
which they expected and I hope the question will be fought 
•out in the end. It must come, and better now, than later in 
the Administration. The President’s proclamations have 
an excellent effect and they make people stop and think. 
I think there will be less fusion movements among the Dem¬ 
ocrats hereafter. If the newspapers would only tell the 
truth. It would also help matters. Wike leaves tonight, 
and Carlisle and I will be alone for a month. The Presi¬ 
dent will designate an acting assistant in his place. This 
insures my vacation. 

Love to all, 

Yours affectionately, 



-31332 Dflf is insbiesiH otil rttiw >Hct gnol s bed I 

Chevy Chase, Md. 

{I $9 A 

July 23, 1894. 

Dear Mother: 

I did not have time to write today in town. Carlisle 
did not arrive until four and then I had a long talk with 
him about the President's letter, etc., and his interview of 
last April. He explained it all and it is quite interesting. 
They all seen to have been playing at cross purposes. Gor¬ 
man made a very bitter speech this afternoon and everyone 
is keyed up to the top notch. I saw Lamont this morning 
and he thought it would come out all right and the Presi¬ 
dent is very confident. Tomorrow will probably decide the 
question. It has rained all day and the people are de¬ 
lighted. The lawns are already losing the dull, brown 
color of the past six weeks. I got your letter of Saturday 
and am glad King got his vacation. I presume you saw 
that Macfarlanc had been confirmed. It is very satisfac¬ 
tory to us and we are all greatly pleased. I am hoping to 
see Thornton Warren made one of the junior assistants. 
I hope you will keep me informed about the parsons who 
make their various bows on approbation. Tomorrow is 
to be cool and clear, and I hope to get some golf and stay 
in town all night. We have fires here this evening and 
they are very comfortable. 

Yours affectionately, 



July 27th, 1894. 

Dear Mother: 

Today is the hottest yet and some humidity too, but not 
much. Mercury 109 in the shade out on the corner by 
Riggs’ Bank, where it gets the reflected heat from the 
asphalt. It is 94 in my room, but there is a good breeze and 


■ ^ < #Ji ; ! '• 3 i-' 



I am not at all uncomfortable. My electric fan is whirl¬ 
ing away in great shape. I got a letter from Delia Gurnee 
in Paris today. They are coming back in August. Her 
father is better. They want me to go to Bar Harbor with 
them. Isabel Montant is at Carlsbad and “They hope” 
she will improve. Got a letter from Soley and a card from 
his agent here. They begin repairs next week. I am glad 
you enjoyed Miss Shelton’s visit.* I was very sorry to miss 
her. I am glad the Sanfords like it. Do not bother about 
Cleveland’s “ strain of sadness ” in his letter, it don't exist 
in his feelings I am quite sure. The situation improves for 
a bill daily. Vilas made a good speech yesterday and I had 
a chat with him and Justice White at the Inn last night. 
Also had the French Ambassador and Austrian Charge 
d’Affaires at dinner. • 

Yours affectionately, 



August 3rd, 1894. 

Dear Mother: 

Wike got back this morning, so I am somewhat re¬ 
lieved. Senator Smith was in here just now and said that 
he had agreed to a measure which he thought would pass 
and that the negotiations might be completed at any mo¬ 
ment. If the adjournment takes place next week I shall 
get away as soon as the Secretary decides upon his plans. 
We will not both go away at the same time. Gold affairs 
look better today also. I am still hoping to get up my 
Berkley story. I have so much to do for campaign speakers 
on the money question out of hours that I am driven to 
death. Had some tennis with the Attorney General, Theo¬ 
dore Roosevelt and Binney last night. Went out to the Inn 
for dinner and bed. It was quite comfortable this morning 

‘Same who were in ray father’s journal 1849. 


-hiriw ei nfil oritoafa yM .*\<J&Vto\mo*i\u \\i> \on m* I 

bfilg mA I jfe*w )Z3fl ^licqn nigod yodT .oiori hiagis «id 


as it was cloudy but now it is muggy again and looks like 
rain. I have the two cheques for Smith and expenses and 
send you some bills. I thought this de Luze bill was paid. 
If I can only get off for a few days this month I think I will 
go to Narraganset Pier, after I have looked in on you, and 
take the rest of the time later at Watertown and Southhamp¬ 
ton where I can get some good exercise. I think some sea 
baths just now would be good for me. I am keeping your 
letters to see that they are all answered some day. I have 
Bessie’s illustrated effusion. It was quite good. 

Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 


P. S. I have an appointment with Hoke Smith to instruct 
him upon the money question at 4:30. 


August 13, 1894. 

Dear Mother: 

Just got your wire. Don’t change any plans on my ac¬ 
count as I am absolutely uncertain. I expect to go to New 
York tomorrow afternoon on business. If Congress should 
decide to adjourn immediately I would probably go on for 
a week, or ten days, vacation, in which event my plan was 
to go to see you for a few days and go to Narragansett Pier 
on the 20th for the time I had left. If you are not in 
Watertown, I will go to Narragansett directly, or to wher¬ 
ever you may be. It is quite immaterial. I shall then 
come back here until Hamlin returns when I shall go off for 
three weeks in Sept, and Oct. The Secretary leaves when 
I get back. Had Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Price at the Inn 
over Sunday and enjoyed it very much indeed. I have 
various memo, from your letters re filter, furniture, etc., etc., 
which I will talk with you about when I see you. Just got 
word that the Democratic caucus have agreed to accept the 



[IS 95} 

Senate bill and take measures to pass free coal, iron, and 
sugar bills. It will take some time to get these later bills 
through, but I presume that we will get the Senate Bill 
tomorrow. I doubt whether the President will approve it 
if they stay in Session long enough (io days) to make it 
a law without. There is a possibility of a veto. The Sec¬ 
retary does not like the situation at all nor does the Admin¬ 
istration generally. Nothing else except it rained all day, 
yesterday it was and is cool and pleasant. Had some golf 
last Saturdav. 


Love to all, 

Yours affectionately, 


P. S. Will be at the University Club, N. Y. Wednesday 

(As the gold situation became worse Will was constantly 
in New York and the following letter was written to Secre¬ 
tary Carlisle just before the negotiation for the sale of 
bonds abroad — ) 

Madison Square. 

30 January, 1895. 
10 P. M. 

Dear Mr. Secretary: 

I have been with B. since 7:15 and just left him. He 
has cabled to learn whether foreigners would do anything 
with the 5s at all and expects an answer in the morning. 
He does not think it will be favorable. He says that the 
selling of American Securities must be stopped by inspiring 
foreigners with confidence and until that is done the gold 
must go to them. He says he tried to see Stillman today 
and failed, but saw Baker. They decided that $100,000,000. 
was necessary with an option for $100,000,000. more if de¬ 
sired. Syndicate to be arranged to take 1/3 here and 2/3 

♦Probably Bacon of the Morgan firm as Mr. Jordan mentioned him. 



- li I i: ini 3?-j't )3g ot ^mii omo? lliw ll .zff?d icgu? 


abroad. They think this figure only would help situation 
and loan of $50,000,000. would have little or no effect even 
if taken locally wholly. B. says action must be immediate 
in his opinion, fjordan was here to meet me. He lost over 
$3,000,000. today. Thinks he can hold on until Saturday 
night and tomorrow may decide. Urges immediate action 
as necessary. Look at Meline’s gold statement of tomor¬ 
row morning showing transfers made and to come. People 
seem scared and panicky in the club. I have seen no one 
on this business except B. and Jordan. Reporters were on 
the train, at the ferry and elsewhere. Impossible to elude 
them or do anything but hold one’s tongue. If you will call 
me up at the Club here at half past nine tomorrow from 
the long distance telephone in my office I would like in¬ 
structions. First: To whom shall I talk? (B. evidently 
would like to try to arrange the syndicate if you decide to 
go ahead, but shall we not make some advances elsewhere, 
through him or personally?) Second: What representa¬ 
tions can I make, if anv, as to the intentions of the Govern- 
ment? I think it should be decided at once whether a bond 
issue should be made or not. If the former and to a syn¬ 
dicate the amount, terms, method etc. to be suggested by B. 
and such others as you may name and to be approved by you. 
If there is to be no issue, it should be so stated at once. B. 
thinks we have overstayed our time. The question also as 
to the probable effect of suspension with a bond issue pend¬ 
ing, or advertised for, must be well thought out. If we de¬ 
cide upon an issue by advertisement, they should be printed 
tomorrow, proposals to be handed in and opened at the 
Treasury next Monday. This time have provisions made 
for allotment, if necessary, and take the highest; no “ all or 
none.” I think the country might respond to this. Instal¬ 
ments after first round amount to be easy and in gold. This 
is a personal opinion merely. 1 feel the responsibility here 
and would like to divide it. I sent a note to F. but got no 

fAssistant U. S. Treasurer, New York. 



noilKulia qbrl bluow ylno rtugft lirh jlnirfi yarfT .bsoide 


[^ 95 ] 

answer and think he may be away. You of course know 
the Congressional outlook. I do not and my views are 
simply based on what I see here. I send this by special 

Yours truly, 

W. E. Curtis. 


Office of the Secretary, 
Feb’y. ist, 1895. 

Dear Mr. Secretary: 

Mr. Morgan has just telephoned me to bring over coun¬ 
ter proposition on any of his points not agreed to. Also, 
that in the paragraph about cooperation he meant he wanted 
the commercial assistance of the Treasury, and that the 
business would be facilitated and not delayed to obtain legal 
opinions on points settled by custom in financial affairs and 
not involving money risks to the government. As to the 
interpretation of “ coin in bonds,’’ see “ Specie Resumption 
& Refunding of the National Debt ” (being letters etc. sent 
to Congress by Secretary Sherman on the subject) pages 
20, 22 etc. 

Yours truly, 

W. E. Curtis. 


Office of the Secretary, 
Feb’y. 4th, 1895. 

3:2o P. M. 

I have heard from Mr. Morgan. He and Mr. Belmont 
were together. I told them that the Atty. Gen.* had finally 
decided that the old fours would be open to the objection as 
to their validity. He said he would cable this to London. 
I also said I would send a messenger by the midnight train 

•Mr. Richard OIny was Attorney General until the death of Mr. Gresham 
Secretary of State, when he was given that office. 


word onuao Jo uoY .vkwk ad ycm ari jfnirti bns lawns 

,yfo7j rtiroY i o ■ 


on other matters. He asked what the other open questions 
were and I said that among other things the rate was too 
stiff. He said it was based on foreign advices which agreed 
as to market, but he and Mr. B. would come over if you 
wished and consult upon that point if the others were set¬ 
tled and he could wait until receipt of messages tomorrow 
morning before saying anything further to foreigners, ex¬ 
cept that the 30 year fours must be used. 

W. E. C. 

The following was written just before the conference 
when Mr. Morgan, Mr. Olny, Mr. Carlisle and the Presi¬ 
dent decided upon the expedient which was first suggested 
by my brother. 

1740 M STREET 


Dear Mr. Secretary: 

If the Attorney General is expected this morning at the 
President's he had better be informed by telephone as the 
matter was open yesterday when I saw him. 

I am terribly anxious about the popular loan offer with¬ 
out preliminary arrangements. I cannot see how we can 
help the situation without foreign gold in some way. 
Nothing can apparently be done in New York on the lines 
we mentioned — i. e. temporary borrowings. The differ¬ 
ence in price between quotations for foreign bids and our 
views is nothing compared with panic and suspension. Do 
get all the information about the business side of the situa¬ 
tion from Morgan, who thinks the situation the most criti¬ 
cal since the war and I must say I agree. I will be in my 
office and you can send for me if wanted. I think a private 
conversation between you and M. would be advantageous. 
Pardon all these suggestions, but the matter has kept me 
awake all night and the slightest hesitency in the public 
view will precipitate trouble. 

Yours hastily, 

W. E. C. 




mtuo on] li jnioq Jerit noqu ili/anoj bun bariziw 
-X3 ,«i3ngnio ol iDdnul gnirli^nc gnivs? 3io}->d gnimom 

! yi steiosg iM nsCl 


Whether he was present at the consultation nobody 
knows — Mr. Cleveland merely mentioned “ a young man.” 

William wrote the following letters when he was sent 
to England with the bonds. Added to much hard work, 
he had an interesting and entertaining experience. 


May 31st, 1895. 

My dear Mother: 

When I wrote you last we were running up the Channel 
and we have now reached our destination and done some 
other things. We had a most beautiful evening to land. 
The sky was cloudless and as we passed through the U. S. 
fleet their bands played and we howled, of course. We got 
to the dock at 6:30 and Col. Montgomery and Mr. Kincaid, 
consul at Southhampton, were down to meet me with a letter 
and card from Mr. Bayard so I had no customs examina¬ 
tion. We left at 7:50 and reached London a few minutes 
before 10. Our party had a special compartment and came 
on most smoothly. It being the “ Derby Day ” London was 
crammed with people, but I found a fine room all ready at 
the Metropole and was most comfortable. Today, how¬ 
ever, with the assistance of Mr. Hodson at the Embassy, I 
found lodgings at 37 Albermarle St., West, which consists 
of sitting, bed, dressing and bath room for what I pay for 
one large room here and I move this afternoon. I dine at 
Mr. Bayard’s house tonight. I have been proposed as a 
temporary member of the St. James Club (the club of the 
Diplomatic Corps) and dine with Roosevelt, First Secre¬ 
tary, on Tuesday. 

Yesterday I went to the Embassy first and then to Coun- 
sul General’s office. The latter had arranged a luncheon 
at the old “ Ship and Turtle Tavern,” and we had a most 
delightful time. I dined here alone, as I was very tired. 
Went to see Dr. Hamilton in the evening and early to bed. 
Today I tailored a bit and went again to the Embassy and 




later had my first interview, by appointment, with Lord 
Rothschild. He was very agreeable and we settled every¬ 
thing most satisfactorily. Everyone is going away just now 
for the Whitsuntide holidays and I think I may go over 
tomorrow and see Cambridge University. I have never 
been there. We will now have nothing until Tuesday, 
when I go to Southampton to meet the bonds. The weather 
is fine and quite warm. I presume I will get the first 
home letters on Monday. They sent off a small boat with 
the news of Mr. Gresham’s death, which was cabled to me 
in London and repeated by Col. Montgomery to the signal 
officer at Hurst Castle. 

Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 


37 Albermarle St., 

London, W. 

4th June, 1895. 

My Dear Mother: 

I have moved my plant here from the Metropole, which 
was crowded and generally horrid. I have a sitting room, 
bed and bathroom and when the others come they have the 
floor above. I moved on Friday afternoon, after spending 
the day in the city and having two interviews with Lord 
Rothschild. The dinner at Mr. Bayard's was a grand 
affair. They have a fine house and were most polite. 
There were 28 at table. .The Italian Ambassador was the 
guest of honor and the others were the Marquis and Mar¬ 
quise of Bath, Lords and Ladies Reay, Brassey, Acton, 
Baron and Baroness de Worms, Earl of Jersey and Lady 
Margaret Villiers (Here Mr. Robb called and had a chat). 
Lord Knutsford, Mrs. Hamilton Aide, Mrs. Adair and 
various American officials, etc. I took out Miss Bayard 
and sat between her and Lady Reay. Had a long chat with 
Lord Jersey while smoking. He has been Gov. General of 


- *3 n.» »fl v . ini. <>i ; olit / v: ?o| ; oA 

1 * 895 ] 

New South Wales and Lord Brassey is going out now. It 
was very interesting meeting these people. Roosevelt was 
very attentive (ist Secretary) and gives a dinner for me 
tonight. Saturday I went to the City again and to the 
Exhibition of the Royal Academy in the afternoon. I had 
the Richardson’s to dine with me at the Cafe Monico, where 
they have music, and then we came here and spent the 
evening. Met Captain Evans this morning and if I have 
time at Southampton tomorrow I will go down to luncheon 
with him on his ship. I expect the party will arrive to¬ 
morrow afternoon or evening and I am going down at 9:15 
in the morning. I got your first letters today (2) both from 
the Imperial. Mr. Morgan arrived in London last night 
and I hope to see him this afternoon. Hope the horses 
and trip to Watertown will be all right. 

Yours affectionately, 


P. S. I have written General Cumberland and Auntie 


37 Albermarle St., W. 

June 8th, 1893. 

Dear Mother: 

I received your pencilled announcement of your safe 
arrival at Watertown and the clippings. I am glad it all 
went off properly. I think I wrote you on Tuesday, as I 
was going to dine with Roosevelt. We had a very pleasant 
time and the party included all the Embassy people (except 
Mr. Bayard) and Richardson. Went to the theatre, etc., 
Wednesday. I left for Southampton at 9:15 to meet the 
“ Paris.” Waited about all day with Col. Montgomery 
and as the ship did not arrive until about 9 p. m. we had 
to stay all night and come up early Thursday morning. 
The other party had a very fine passage and we got the 
papers safely into the vault by one o’clock on that day. In 




I ni b-j /i. • 


the afternoon I went to the weekly reception of the Ambas¬ 
sador with Logan Carlisle and met a great many people. 
Yesterday we worked all day at Rothschild's office and got 
about 3,000,000 pounds signed. It required us all to work 
continuously, but today we have holiday and we all are 
taking advantage of it. The weather continues beautiful. 
I have a letter from Auntie Randolph and they are leaving 
for Kissingen June 20th. I hope to get to Paris a couple of 
days before they leave. Your letter of the 31st with the ac¬ 
count of your birthday has just arrived and the morning 
papers announce Mr. Olney’s appointment as Secretary of 
State. I will send him my congratulations. Who is judge 
Harmon? I am glad Mr. Carlisle stays where he is. I 
don’t think I would care to stay under anyone else. I have 
been made a temporary member of the St. James Club and 
am now settled. I must go out now. I have a letter from 
Kingsbury this morning announcing receipt of my cable. 
Give my love to all. I wish I could have joined in the 
“ kissing bee.” 

Yours affectionately, 


37 Albermarle St., W. 


10th June, 1895. 

Dear Mother: 

I believe I wrote you last on Saturday. Did I tell you 
that I found Nellie Hotchkiss and Mrs. Eaton on the 
“ Paris?” Mr. Murray gave up his room to them at South¬ 
ampton and they were greatly obliged. They had engaged 
nothing in advance, expecting to get in much earlier. Sat¬ 
urday was an awfully hot day here and I put on summer 
clothes. Roosevelt came for me in his T cart at 4 o’clock 
and drove me to Osterly Park 9 miles out. It is a beautiful 
place; 2,000 acres, superb trees and a magnificent house 
built in 1720 with tapestries, furniture, pictures, etc. kept 


nefidmA dHj o noinp^i ^bbsw ^rii oi inr// I nooimrtu arb 

.tohl9$ no n ms 

»rn 2irij ^udagnL}! 


I ['895] 

up till now intact. The house is built very curiously. 
There are towers at four corners and it has a basement and 
three stories. It is ugly, being of red brick trimmed with 
white stone, but the construction of the open court is most 
peculiar. There were a number of people who came out to 
tea and there were 24 at dinner, seated at 3 tables. I took 
out Mrs. Stephen, wife of the Justice and sat next Lady 
Ancaster. The other people at the table were: Lady Arran 
and Lady Galway, Lord Jersey, Hon. Lionel Asley and 
Mr. McKenzie Wallace. Everybody was most kind and 
agreeable and I had a long chat with Lady Jersey after. 
You will have to look up all these people in “ Burke.” 
Roosevelt could not stay to dinner and I came back by the 
11:16 train, being sent to the station by them. I have had 
various invitations which I have not been able to accept. 
One for two davs in the countrv at the Gordon's and another 
to meet Mr. J. P. Morgan at dinner. Yesterday I went to 
Allan Johnston's to lunch and met Baron Edsteffen and 
Mrs. Pinchot. Mrs. J. has a boy about four weeks old, 
but she has not pulled up and they are rather worried about 
her. He drove me down to the Ranelagh Club at Putney 
and we played golf. I borrowed a cleek, driver and lofter 
and beat him by two holes in the 18 which was pretty good 
for a strange course and clubs. I hope to get some more 
shortly. I dined at the St. James Club in the evening with 
Gus Gurnee and the Babcock boys. The former expects to 
sail Friday. He left the family at Em’s all well. 

I have been in the city all day and have not decided what 
to do tonight. The rest are going to the house of Commons. 
Frank Stetson came in and I have met many American 
friends. Gen. Cumberland will be in town tomorrow and 
so will Willy Kane. Mr. Morgan sails on Wednesday for 
New York and I am going to try and slip over to Paris 
while he is on the briny and sec Auntie Randolph who goes 
to Kissingen on the 20th. Clifford Richardson has just 
come in and asked me to dinner and I have accepted. I 



.v ?oonoD 'psv ll ud zi aauod arfT .iDBlni vron Hi) qu 

o) )uo arrisa ortw alqoaq lo ladmun a diaw aiadT .isiluaaq 
rf-sJ )X3n )Bfc bn* oohsu ; ad} \o aliv/ f nadqa)3 .aiM juo 

17 * 05 ] 

presume we will go somewhere afterwards. No rain yet 
and clear, hot fine days. I have bought some clothes, etc., 
and I think I will take a leather golf bag for travelling and 
some clubs for my birthday present. What do Mary and 
Bessie want especially? Anything? I thought ijewelry 
might be satisfactory. 

Give my love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 


37 Albermarle St., W., 


14th June, 1893. 

My dear Mother: 

I have your birthday letter and also yours of the 4th 
and Bessie’s amusing scrawl. I am off to Paris in the 
morning and back on Monday. Auntie Randolph had ar¬ 
ranged to go to Kissingen on the 20th with Mrs. Grigg’s 
and it is the only way I could see her. I will stop with 

We are busy as usual all day. I had a very pleasant 
dinner at the Carter’s on Tuesday and went to Lady Ancas- 
ter’s dance on Wednesday. Met a number of people and 
got an invitation to lunch there next week. They are kind 
and delightful. I also have an invitation to dine at Mrs. 
Mackav’s for July 5th, which I had to decline as my plans 
for return are so uncertain. I met Mrs. Hewitt and Ers- 
kine last evening, and joined them at dinner. Went to see 
Wyndham in “ The Home Secretary ” afterward. He was 
very good and I enjoyed it greatly. The people at the Em¬ 
bassy are very anxious that I should stay over July 1st and 
be presented in the diplomatic circle at the levee that day. 
I may do so. Mr. Morgan sailed for New York on Wed¬ 
nesday and we can do nothing, except continue to complete 
bonds, until he arrives. Much obliged for the slip from 
the “ American,” it was very clever. 



['* 05 ] 

The weather is quite cool again and I am very glad to 
miss the roasting which you all appear to have had in 
America. This afternoon we all went to a garden party 
at Leopole deRothschild's house. It adjoins Ashby house 
at Hyde Park corner and has a beautiful terrace and gar¬ 
den. We had music by Strauss' band and everyone was 
there. I met Lady Jersey, Lady Margaret Villiers, her 
daughter, Lady Reay, Mrs. Adair, the Earl of Arrand, 
Lord Rothschild and various other acquaintances and had 
a very good time. Carlisle and I dined together at the 
Continental and found an excellent table. Murray went 
to Paris with Louis Howland tonight and returns Sunday 
night. H. lives there with his mother so it is a great thing 
for Murray, who is to stop with them. The w r eather con¬ 
tinues fine without rain. I called on Mr. and Mrs. Cady 
Eaton and Nellie Hotchkiss yesterday, and today they asked 
me to go to St. Albans with them, but I had to go to the 
city as usual. I have purchased clothes enough for a year 
and this time they fit. I will answer your sweet birthday 
letter after I get my present. I met Miss Furniss (Cle¬ 
mentina) at the Roosevelt's reception Tuesday afternoon 
and find she is stopping nearly opposite. Also met Mr.' 
MacVeagh, Ambassador to Italy and called on him. Gen¬ 
eral Cumberland came in yesterday and brought Kings¬ 
bury’s wedding present, which he says has been tied up on 
his library table ever since Mrs. C. put it there. He got 
my note while he was stopping at Bowerwood, visiting Miss 
Venables and she sent me an invitation to visit her and he 
wants me to go to Maidstone after Willie Venables gets 
through his examinations. I doubt whether I can manage 
it. I met the Chcsion s at the Carter's and was delighted 
to renew my acquaintance. She is as jolly as ever and he is 
a great golfer and I may go to the country for a couple of 
days with him to play, if I get through here in time. I 
have not heard anything special of anyone we know, except 
Bradley Martin sent me a line yesterday to say that Alice 


• . 


1 ■’ ' I 

•IBS bn* 90 BH 0 J tuhiu£o d u aud bns isnmo Mz ( l obyli u 
nrl f ai3iIIi / msguM ^bisJ f V3€ia[ <<baJ lam I .-nad* 

( r * d§uona eadlob bdesdaiuq »v«d I .bsuau ?£ yjb 

y y * , i »,.•;. •• v- 


Davies would be here next week. I will write Mary and 
Bessie next time. I have two letters from King and one 
from Tryon. 

Yours affectionately, 


37 Albermarle St., W. 


19th June, 1895. 

My dear Mother: 

I seize the chance to drop you a line about my Paris 
trip. I left here on Saturday by the 11 a. m. train for Calais 
and after a much delayed passage, reached rue Lincoln 
about 9 p. m. instead of 7. Fortunately, I wired them and 
they did not wait dinner. I met Willie Burnham at the 
station here and I enjoyed his society all the way. The 
weather was fine and the channel smooth. I found all the 
family in good health and spirits, and they seemed delighted 
to see me again. I had the same room which I had before 
and they have the same servants. They made me most com¬ 
fortable. Sunday morning I went to church at ten o’clock 
with Auntie Randolph and met lots of people whom I 
knew, including Fred Martin, who gave me Alice Davies’ 
address. I found Bessie Clift at lunch fatter than ever and 
quite as voluble. In the afternoon I called on Alice who 
was out, at the Embassy, and on Mrs. Cruger, who lives 
next door, at No. 4. I took a drive with her late in the 
afternoon and got back so late that I missed the early din¬ 
ner at Aunt R’s, but they expected I might not get back. 
I got my dinner at Mrs. Cs and then had a long talk with 
Mrs. R. when I got back to No. 2. They have leased their 
apartment for 6 years more, having now occupied it for 13 
years. Frank may come out in the autumn, but I doubt it. 
Mrs. Grigg is going with them in Kissingen. 

I took a long walk with Frank before I went to drive 
and the weather was so beautiful, that all Paris was in the 




streets. It was very gay and interesting. Monday morning 
I stayed with them until my departure for the station at 
ii, when I left them waving their handkerchiefs from the 
window. Had another smooth journey and reached here 
about 8 p. m. after a most successful trip. I enjoyed it 
thoroughly and only regretted that I could not stay longer. 
They all sent messages to you and the girls and hope to see 
you over here soon ! 

Yesterday afternoon I called on the Pauncefotes and in 
the evening went with Mrs. Bayley to the Indian Exhibi¬ 
tion. Had a pleasant time. I must get this off-now, so 
goodbye for the moment. 

Yours affectionately, 


37 Albermarle St., W. 


21st June, 1895. 

Dear Mother: 

I send you this to say we will not get through in time to 
catch the steamer on the 29 inst. Murray, etc., expect to 
sail on the 6th of July in the “ St. Louis,” and I may ac¬ 
company them. The probabilities, however, are in favor 
of my leaving by the “ New York” on the 13th. I will 
not know, however, until Mr. J. P. Morgan has sized up 
the financial situation at home and informed me. I found 
Gurnee here last night and we dined together and he took 
me to the theatre afterwards. Had a pleasant evening. I 
send you a steamer plan which shows my room coming over 
and the concert programme; also a slip to complete my let¬ 
ter to Mary about the Ascot races. I am overwhelmed 
with correspondence just now on all sides and am very 
busy. I am going to the country tomorrow to spend Sun¬ 
day with Mr. Gordon, Mr. Morgan’s partner. He lives in 
Kent near Seven Oaks. Willy Kane appeared this afternoon 
and I am dining with him tonight and afterwards go to a re- 


i n r rr, no \L .§niU3i33ni bn£ ywr efiw il .etonta 
J noi file art v)\ a-rumqsb ym liirm rmrfl riiiv/ b^Big T 

n I3*0(*p .qiu iuh«3DOU8 nom a -rails .m .q 8 mods 


ception at Dr. Hamilton’s. I must go and dress now. I 
have been writing steadily since I came from the city three 
hours ago and it is now nearly half past seven. Got your 
letters of June ioth and nth with clipping last evening. 
Glad to hear the news. 

Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 


37 Albermarle St., W. 

My dear Mother: 29th June, 1895. 

I presume that you have my telegram to the office stat¬ 
ing that I would not sail until the 13th of July. We have 
not yet received the authority to deliver the final lot of 
$6,000,000, but they are all signed and counted and ready. 
Carlisle and Massey are in Paris until tomorrow and Mur¬ 
ray in Ireland. I have stayed here waiting for a cable. 

I dined with Lord Rothschild last night and had a very 
pleasant time. I met the chap (Broderick) whose motion 
defeated the Government the other night and his wife Lady 
Hilda; I should think she would have been the one to move 
it. I met two other members of Parliament, one of the 
beauties, Mrs. Ady, and her husband, Hon. Chas. Howard, 
son of Lord Carlisle and others. The house is magnificent 
and looks out on a beautiful garden. Lady Rothschild was 
very agreeable and her daughter equally so. I took her (the 
daughter) out to dinner and sat between her and Mr. 
Bowles, M. P. 

Yesterday afternoon I went to a bazaar and bought 
several things. Lady Ancaster was there and I did my duty 
towards various acquaintances, including Miss Gordon and 
Mrs. Ronalds. The latter sent her love to Annie Bucking¬ 
ham. She looks but little older than before and seems quite 
as gay and vivacious as ever. My dinner for Roosevelt on 
Thursday was a great success, though Dr. Plamilton got ill 
at too late an hour to fill his place. I had Clifford Rich- 



US 9 5] 

ardson, Julien Davies and Willy Kane. They came here 
after the dinner (which was at Willis’ Rooms) and all 
stayed until 12:15. I was asked by Lady Galway for a 
boating party yesterday, but it rained and I did not go; am 
asked to the Jersey’s for a small garden party this after¬ 
noon, but expect to go down to Bedford and spend Sunday 
with Willy Kane. I wrote Bessie the other day and expect 
to write to King in answer to his last one. Much obliged 
for the clippings. Hope Bessie won’t break her nose on 
the new bicycle,— people are crazy over it here. Yours 
of the 19th has just arrived. You will have a chance for 
another one. Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 


37 Albermarle St., W. 

July 9th, 1895. 

My dear Mother: 

Just a line to acknowledge yours of the 26th. This is 
my last letter from this side. I am having a very busy week. 
I lunched with Lady Galway on Sunday and dined with the 
Eaton’s and am going on Lord Cheylesmere’s coach to the 
meet of the Coaching Club Thursday. I have been at the 
Henley Regatta all day on the Ambassador’s Launch and 
had a perfectly delightful time. Tomorrow, I spend the 
day at Guilford playing golf with Henry White. The 
coaching with Lord Ancaster and his party last Saturday 
was a brilliant success and the garden party at Osterly most 
entertaining. We had a charming lot of people,— besides 
Lord and Lady A. were Ladies Margaret and Nina Wil¬ 
loughby, Florence Astley, and Miss Douglas, Tennant and 
Hon. Astley. The Jerseys were as agreeable as before. 
Willie Venables is coming here to spend tomorrow night 
with me. He writes a very good letter. The Curry house, 
if arranged properly, would be a good thing, I think, though 
$3,600 is about as much as it is worth. Could we get it for 



I [*>*0 


tvvo years? It is now nearly i a. m. and I have to get up 
early so good night. Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 



The picture of Hon. William E. Curtis, Assistant Secre¬ 
tary of the Treasury, is now going the rounds. With the 
picture is usually a sketch which represents that Mr. Curtis 
has just returned from England after performing a very 
important office there; which was the delivery of the foreign 
half of the last Government bond issue into the hands of 
the Rothschilds. The notice usually concludes with an ex¬ 
pression of joy that Mr. Curtis was able to do all this so 
successfully and that he is at last at home and safe again. 
The handsome Assistant Secretary is one of the most ad¬ 
mired of all the bachelors at present at large in Washington 
society; and with regard to him, as well as to all the other 
administration bachelors, it is hoped by society generally 
that they will not let another winter pass without doing 
what is expected of them by so many. 


Aug. 29, 1895. 

Dear Mother: 

Beastly hot! I return this slip. It is August drivel. 
The Register of the Treasury, Mr. J. Fount Silliman, is 
the party referred to. The Curry’s have decided not to go 
abroad and their house is not to be rented. The gold with¬ 
drawals prevent my leaving here at present. 

It is too hot to write anv more. Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 



•Extract from a Washington paper. 



Madison Square. 

Sept. 18th, 1895. 

Dear Mother: 

I am still here watching the confounded situation and 
very tired of it all. The weather is very hot and close and 
I will be glad to get through. I will probably not get away 
until we learn the exports by Saturday’s steamer, which 
will not be known until about two on Friday. In that case, 
I hope to catch the 4 p. m. train or at latest the 1 p. m. on 
Saturday. Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 


P. S. I saw letter about N. Y. and N. H. stock, cheque, etc. 
All right. 


Madison Square. 


Dear Mother: 

Awfully hot! Dined with Mr. Fairchild and spent the 
evening. Got your letter this morning. Return at 3:20 
tomorrow. Very busy. No rooms here so I went to the Wal¬ 
dorf which is very comfortable and not so horribly ex¬ 
pensive. No time to write more. Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 



20th July, 1896. 

Dear Mother: 

I have your letter of Saturday and am sorry the cool 
weather gave you neuralgia. Hope it has gone away. I am 
in a hot, humid atmosphere and it changed in the night so 
suddenly as to wake me up. I went to sleep with a blanket 



arjjo YTiaaaviviu 4 

T/iZMTXKHm thu8A3ot * | 



over me and one window closed and after 4 a. m. had to 
open the latter and throw off the former. Regarding your 
letter about New York and New Haven stock, there has 
been no time when we could sell it to advantage. There 
were only 284 shares sold in the whole month of June. The 
immediate financial aspect is squally and the “ great chief ” 
is “ sulking in his tent ” and won’t say or do anything. I 
expect Mr. Carlisle back this evening and I shall try to get 
him off to Gray Gables at once. When I think that all this 
might have been avoided if they had taken my advice in the 
beginning it “ makes me tired ” I will answer your politi¬ 
cal letter when I have time. I did not write you yesterday 
at the Inn, as I was busy after luncheon and went to church 
in the morning. The McKeevers left today. The Rices 
go tomorrow. The wife of the Portugese Minister heard 
of her father’s death last Thursday and is shut up in her 
room feeling very badly. They leave at the end of the week. 
Hamlin went last evening and Mr. Olney with him. I 
have an idea that the President may return here or have a 
Cabinet Meeting at Gray Gables. I wanted them to adopt 
a policy before they all went away. Fortunately I am very 
well and better prepared for a racket than I was last win¬ 
ter. Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 


P. S. I am hoping to be kept in New York for a week or 
so and will be able to go to Oriental Hotel at Coney Island 
or some other place at night. 


3 Augt. 1896. 

Dear Mother: 

I expected to have written yesterday but there was noth¬ 
ing to say. It was pretty warm and we had the usual five 
o’clock shower, which cooled the air and gave us a good 


;ri .m .b £ -ntlfi bns mlo y/obniw ono bnc am isvo 

.liryo} tnh Bo v/ idl !>ns vtfjfil air!I noqo 



night but tomorrow will be especially warm, so the papers 
say. I have asked the finance officials of the Japanese 
Government, now here, to dine at the Inn tonight with me 
and have two or three to meet them. I dined in town Sat¬ 
urday having paid a visit of condolence to the Portuguese 
people and have done some errands. Dr. Wyman brought 
Mrs. Thomas and Miss Goddard in for the theatre and I 
met them there. The play, “ School,” was very well done. 
Had a light supper and got back to the Inn about 12 and 
just as a terrific shower of rain and a gale of wind began. 
Miss Storey’s engagement to that little Belgian de Buisseret 
is announced. How could she? I wired you at 118 Madi¬ 
son Avenue today. All well. Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 



28th Oct. 1896. 

Dear Mother: 

Last night Mrs. Thomas had a jackstraw party in her 
rooms at the Grafton and Miss Riddle, Miss Goddard, Dr. 
Wyman, Prof. Procter and I had a very jolly evening. We 
did not break up until after 12 and had oysters in a chafing 
dish and beer. This morning I had a long interview with 
the President on the financial situation, which was very in¬ 
teresting. He seems remarkably well and belligerent, and 
confident that there are a majority of thoughtful people in 
the country who will vote for sound money. 

Yours affectionately. 



30th Oct. 1896. 

Dear Mother: 

Had another long conversation with the President yes- 





terday. Mr. Carlisle will be here Sunday. I do not think 
I will go to New York before Monday afternoon and pos¬ 
sibly not until after the election. We had some excite¬ 
ment yesterday but it has quieted down again this morning 
and I hope it is laid for some time. The getting house 
affairs settled don't bother me because Camfield attends 
to all the detail. 

I had a beautiful box of double violets from Watertown 
and sent half to Mrs. Thomas and half to Miss Henriques 
and received corresponding effusions. It is growing cooler 
again this morning after three days of summer weather. 
Romecke is sending the slips here and there are a great 
many. The press agents say that no letter in this canvass 
had been so widely printed or commented upon as mine. 
I am very much pleased, as it’s reception was so completely 
unexpected by me. Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 


That was the last of my brother’s letters from Wash¬ 
ington and the next is in 1902 describing his L.L.D. at a 
Trinity College Commencement (just fifty years since my 
fathers graduation.) 

14 West 20th St., 
June 26/02. 

My dear Mother: 

I have just had my dinner and scratch this to say that 
everything went off very well yesterday and that we had 
perfect weather. The Beaches all came in from West Hart¬ 
ford to see me hooded and all the Chapman tribe came for 
the same purpose. We had the most successful Commence¬ 
ment in years. The hall was crowded and there was the 
greatest enthusiasm. There were 60 who could not get seats 
at the Alumni dinner. I got lots of congratulations and 
was very much pleased at what various people said and who 
said it. Mrs. Edward Perkins asked for you and so did 



Mr. Smith and the Beaches, etc. I think I may not get off 
to York Harbor tomorrow and may arrange to stay until 
Monday. I will wire you as soon as I can see daylight. 

I got your letter here and also Bessies’. Love to all. 


Yours affectionately, 



30 Broad St., 

New York. 

Sept 15/02. 

My dear Mother: 

Mayor Low has asked me to take the position of Aque- 
uuu Cuiiimissioncr vacated by the death of Judge Powe r $ 
last week and I have accepted it. The Merchants Assoc, 
were very anxious 1 should. It is a Board Membership of 
which the Mayor and Comptroller are also members ex 
officio. It requires one meeting a week in the afternoon. 
The salary is $5,000. per year indefinitely and does not in¬ 
terfere with my practice. It is a very complimentary ap¬ 
pointment and means a lot in politics. I gave up going to 
Congress when I found how the matters were here last 
Spring and this is all right. There may be a fight to prove 
I am not a democrat but I am enrolled as one in my own 
district. They can’t very well get around that. I am just 
going up to the Mayor’s office. Bessie will now see me in 
the papers again and I hope she will be pleased! ! The 
carpenters went back. Sarre and Wight just called me on 
the telephone so I shall see Savin tomorrow and bargain 
for immediate possession. Love to all. 

Yours affectionately, 


This was the last political appointment Will ever ac¬ 
cepted — He was complete^ absorbed in his profession 
his interest in the Scovill Manufacturing Company, St. 
Georges Church, St. Luke’s Hospital, Trinity College, and 





for recreation, Golf — When he left the Treasury he 
returned to the endless drudgery of a law office in 
New York, now Curtis, Mallet, Prevost & Colt. His 
inherited conscientiousness made him take life hard 
and seriously. Pie felt hurt that nobody knew what he had 
done, but at the same time it was a matter of principle, and 
also abhorrent to his modest nature, to put himself forward. 
One can see from what my grandfather wrote to Papa that 
even before 1800, sensitiveness and that sort of shyness, were 
Curtis characteristics. To continue hereditary qualities Will 
resembled his father* and with Holbrook, Randolph and 
Mary had finely cut features and beautiful hands, but all 
the family except Sanford were medium height like my 
mother and her mother, instead of tall like my father, his 
parents and her own father. Holbrook and Randolph 
were blond like Papa while all the others were dark. So 
much for Mendelism and the white mice! 

William died in August 1923, after several years of bad 
health. It has been a hideous task trying to sort out the 
boxes, drawers, desks, closets and trunks of old papers. 
No matter how many letters I read, more remain, and those 
from my father are much more interesting than the journal 
which he kept as a book of reference for his own private 
delectation. Plowever, I found so much that proved quaint¬ 
ly amusing that instead of making extracts, I included near¬ 
ly all in this voluminous “ juggernaut.” 

*In mind and taste more than any of the others but looked like my mother. 


' • 


nq n /o id ml oonoisloi o dood s ? R j q; »! 5 rf foidv/ 

• • 

Holbrook, the second boy, was always remarkable for 
his force of character, quick wit and talent for music and 
painting. When he was twelve years old he spent a winter 
in Nassau with Dr. Kirkwood and established his taste for 
medicine, attending every autopsy that he could. He also 
learned to sail a boat himself and showed the sense of a 
grown man. ' They told a story of his going into a lunatic’s 
room at the hotel and by tact and strategy getting a pistol 
away from him when nobody else had the courage. Be¬ 
fore he got into the treadmill of New York; where over¬ 
work, a sensitive temperament and the constant handicap of 
a delicate constitution, harrassed and fretted him, he was 
the center of merriment in every gathering. At home, at 
school, in Cheshire, at Yale College, he amused friends and 
family. My mother never tired of recounting his sayings 
and escapades. In 1884 he married a beautiful girl, Jose¬ 
phine Allen, of Brooklyn, and his two sons were given the 
family names of William Edmond, and Henry Holbrook. 
Only his daughter Marjorie* is living now, and she is 
married to Thomas L. Chadbourne and has two little girls. 
After graduating from the Medical School, Holbrook 
studied in Vienna and Paris and worked at one time with 
“ his beloved preceptor, Dr. T. Gaillard Thomas.” Elis 
intention of making diseases of women his specialty was 
never followed because, for one thing, he became interested 
in throats at the time of my brother Sanford’s death; and 
later he discovered that by making a patient sing while 
looking down his throat, he could see nodules and diseased 
conditions of the chords which were easilv remedied. This 
brought him such a furor of success added to what he ac¬ 
complished in nasal and head surgery that his office was 
besieged by singers and even the crowned heads of Europe 
sent for him at various times. Dr. Lenox Brown president 
of the British Laryngological, Rhinological Society said in 

*She inherited her grandmother’s voice, but gave up music for sculpture in 
which she was doing well at the time of her marriage. 


* ) • )1 :-j\ i - • ff ; 

Dr. Holbrook Curtis 










a speech before that body in 1891 that “ the naissance of 
nasal surgery in London followed the performance by Dr. 
Curtis of sixteen brilliant operations on the nose, at the 
London Central Throat Hospital in 1887.” 

The passion for singing which he inherited from his 
mother made him take great pleasure in the friendship of 
his Operatic patients, but this sort of practice rather ob¬ 
scured his surgical work. 

In a short memoir he writes, “ I look back upon the day 
when Mr. Strakosch, the librarian of the Metropolitan 
Opera House, brought to my office Jean and Edouard de 
Reszke, for it was from that moment my interest in the 
singing voice became vital, and the great musical intelli¬ 
gence of these two men inspired me with a love of the art 
which has possessed me ever since. To Jean de Reszke we 
owe the great strides made in the time of Abbey, Schoeffel, 
and Grau, at the opera, in contradistinction to the stilted 
style of the old Academy of Music ten years earlier, when 
each aria in turn was sung by the artist, after a walk down 
the stage, and delivered as a solo, the opera being temporari¬ 
ly interrupted, with also a suitable pause for flowers. Jean 
de Reszke introduced the coalescence of the song sentiment 
and the true dramatic element in opera. He was an ex¬ 
cellent actor and never for a moment left the picture to 
appeal to the audience. He sang in the true French 
method, as did Edouard, his brother; Plancon was a true 
exponent of this type of singing, dans le masque, so called. 
Plancon and Jean both observed the high chest and used 
interior costal respiration. I went with the brothers to 
their home at Borowna in Poland, spending two weeks on 
the de Reszke estate, and had many chances to get ideas of 
tone production which became invaluable to me later. 
Jean was then learning Tristan and was making a poem out 
of German ‘ schrecklichkeit.’ Jean sang with his soul, 
and every phrase carried conviction and showed a superior 
musical conception. His voice itself was not a perfect one, 


for he lacked the tenor timbre so essential to the happiness 
of an Italian gallery, but he showed the true poetry of musi¬ 
cal phrasing and thrilled his audiences in a way that I have 
never seen equalled except by Caruso. If any of you hap¬ 
pened to see the great matinee performance of Tristan und 
Isolde by Jean and Lili Lehmann in 1898, you will, I 
think, agree with me that the perfection of action and song 
was attained. Jean de Reszke was an upholder of perfect 
relaxation in singing and always advocated singing ‘ F ’ 
on the staff with a covered tone and sometimes his ‘ E ’. 
He frequently told me that a baritone should never sing an 
open 1 D ’. Like many singers he changed his ideas in 
teaching, and of late years he has advocated a voluntary 
raising of the soft palate in the higher register of the so¬ 
prano voice, while I have always maintained that the soft 
palate has a special adjustment, for every note sung. Its 
real function is that of a stop, attuning the cavities of the 
mouth and nose by becoming a portiere which, drawn over 
the pharynx, apportions the sound waves to those cavities 
best calculated to reinforce the fundamental tone and make 
rich the voice in overtones. 

“ Madame Sembrich is a Pole, and at that time was 
having a great success in concerts. I must claim the dis¬ 
tinction of securing her a second engagement at the Metro¬ 
politan, for when Grau was short a ‘ Rosina ’ one night, 
and asked me if I knew of one, I so cordially recommended 
Mme. Sembrich that he said he would engage her, although 
he thought my enthusiasm was unwarranted. At the end 
of the music teacher’s scene, when she had removed her 
gloves and responded to seven encores, playing her own 
accompaniments, Grau came to me and said: ‘ She has 
made a great success,’ and after the performance he engaged 
her for the remainder of the season. Grau had probably 
forgotten the success she had made in 1883, when she sang 
with Christine Nillson and entranced the public. She 
played both the violin and the piano to perfection. On her 


23niqqfiri aril oJ oe ncfmij ion-)f 3 fh bs.>b£[ oti io\ 

Holbrook Curtis 3rd 



return to New York, after the San Francisco earthquake, 
Marcella Sembrich gave a concert which netted over ten 
tnousand dollars, which she divided between the orchestra, 
to duplicate their lost instruments, and the members of the 
chorus. This act, together with her charities and personal 
work for suffering humanity secured her the medal of the 
National Institute of Social Sciences in 1916.” 

“ In 1896, Appleton published the first edition of my 
book, 1 Voice Building and Tone Placing ’, which I dedi¬ 
cated to Jean de Reszke. In the Scientific x\merican of 
May 29th, 1897, I made public the fact that, what the con¬ 
sensus of opinion had decided upon as the best tone, viz: 
the tone with the fullest complement of overtones and con¬ 
sequently most agreeable to the ear, made a perfect geomet¬ 
ric figure when sung in an instrument which I described 
and called the Tonograph. This apparatus was made by 
stretching a rubber membrane, the so-called rubber dam 
of the dentist, over a metal bowl with a hole in the bottom, 
into which tones could be sung through a flexible tube. 
The tones produced in the various notes of the scale made 
beautiful geometric figures in a mixture of emery and salt 
sprinkled on the rubber disc of this simple contrivance. 
This article was reproduced all over Europe and called 
forth much comment in the scientific papers. It was the 
application to the human voice of Chladni’s experiment 
with sand on vibrating plates. The same note always made 
the same figure, but different voices producing the same 
note caused a marked difference in the thickness of certain 
lines of the emery mixture in the figure on the diaphragm, 
in accordance with the relative strength or weakness of the 
overtones of the fundamental note. I have brought some 
photographs of these beautiful geometric figures, sung bv 
celebrated artists, which show these differences. By a study 
of these pictures and analyzing the overtones by Koenig’s 
flames, one could make a mathematical equation of the 
human voice. The result of several years’ study of the 
subject lead me to conclude that the ‘ Ma, Ma,’ arpeggio, 


.adcuprfma ooibnjn'3 nn8 srtj isjIg ,j!toY -/nVl ol mutni 

which is known very generally as the * Curtis Maw, Maw 
Exercise,’ was as near as could be described a proper place¬ 
ment of tone; at any rate, it has been accepted by such au¬ 
thorities as Jean and Edouard de Reszke, Sembrich, Melba, 
Scotti, Calve, Caruso, Witherspoon, Hinkel, Anna Case, 
and many others.” * 

All of my mother’s children, except William and Mary, 
had talent for painting. Some of the things Holbrook did, 
never having had a lesson in his life, are truly remarkable, 
particularly the marines, for he always loved the sea. 

The family seemed to be at their height of success in 
1895 and 1896. William had saved the country from bank¬ 
ruptcy by his clear vision and knowledge of law. Holbrook 
with an international reputation, was having extraordinary 
Sunday evening musicales when the great, unequalled and 
charming Jean de Reske sang for friendship’s sake. 

My mother instead of going South for the winter took 
a house in Washington to be near my brother Will where 
she and my sister enjoyed to the utmost the variegated so¬ 
ciety which they entertained. 

Sanford (who died when only twenty) and Ran¬ 
dolph, were both humorous, artistic and beloved by every¬ 
one who knew them. Although “ Ran ” as he was called, 
studied law, he hated New York and the routine of an of¬ 
fice, so that my mother gave him his share of my father’s 
property which enabled him to buy a place twelve miles 
from Asheville on the French Broad, named “ Zilla Coa.” 
At first he tried to raise tobacco, but finding it an uncertain 
crop, he turned the land to clover. The stone bungalow 
which he built on top of a mountain was reached by a road 
that wound up through ploughed fields of red clay soil, in¬ 
to woods that were filled in spring with lacy dogwood, 
flaming azalia, and rhododendron that bloomed as though 
in a garden. From this setting the view extended for fifty 
miles to Pisgah Mountain; purple and blue, with fleeting 
cloud shadows and glimpses of the winding river. Log 

•Holbrook died in May, 1920 shortly after he wrote this article. 


v-fil/ ' 2 : )iu0‘ adt 2B yflBTJiiag 7 ‘io 7 nwond 2i fbiriw 

-aanlq isqoiq b badhozab ad bluoa «b iuan *s *bw f <38toiax3 
-ub doi/2 yd balq jDDB noad 2bH }i t aUn ynB it; ;anoJ to inooi 

f a 2 cO BfinA ( Io^n:l: t nooq3iarfjiV/ t 02ui6" <avU ) t iJloq2 

* .eiarito ynfim bnfi 


Francis Randolph Curtis 


• ' 

cabins and a patchwork quilt of farming country lay in the 
middle distance giving substance and solidity to what 
seemed too beautiful for reality. Here my brother led 
an ideal existence; riding over the farm, shooting with 
friends from the North, and making expeditions to Ashe¬ 
ville in the dog cart with sagacious “ Old Black Joe ” as 
leader. Randolph had red hair, rounded, aquiline fea¬ 
tures, a well-proportioned figure and a delightful speaking 
voice. Nothing of beauty, in art, literature, or music, was 
lost to him; and his nature was remarkably sweet, affection¬ 
ate and at the same time upright, loyal and courageous. 
Several years before his death he became involved in a land 
improvement venture in Cumberland Gap which proved a 
failure and the consequent depression laid him open to pneu¬ 
monia, of which he suffered two attacks that led to his final 

(Here is his last letter.) 

June 2nd, 1892 

My dearest Bess; 

I was sorry not to have you up, but I found that Ross 
had arranged to go into camp, near here, where it is very 
fine fishing. Then to move to St. Regis and on to per¬ 
manent camp. 

As my object here is to get under canvas as soon as pos¬ 
sible, I gave up the idea of having you with me for the pres¬ 
ent. It would be impossible for you to camp alone with any 
comfort, if you will only think about it. Later I have no 
doubt we can arrange for a jolly long visit. 

—'— arrived to-day and we start for Moose Pond in 
the morning. From there we will knock around. He is 
off fishing now, and we have not really decided on our 

Tell Mamma that I have received all the letters. There 
have been shoals of them, and it has been very jolly to be 
kept so well posted on family interests. Love to all 

Your disappointed 



ar!) ni ysl ^itnuoo gnim-is) )o lliup iiowrittBq 6 bnB gnidso 

sniliupr; t b3bnucn ,*ibrf bn barf riqlobnfifl .labssl 
^ni; soq 2 !u iiigibb & brus tmigft banoinoqmq-Itew & .znul 

boJnioqqcaib iuoY 



He was mayor of Harrogate, Term., while he lived 
there, although he never gave up “ Zilla Coa.” Feeling 
strongly that the feuds among the mountaineers must be put 
down at all costs, he incurred the enmity of a gang who 
swore they would kill him within a week. One night he 
was sitting with a friend, Jim Churchill, in his room when 
they heard some one say “ now we’ll get him,’' and the tramp 
of men ascending the stairs. Both Ran and Mr. Churchill 
had no fire arms (the reason why I forget). The latter was 
extremely tall and by a lucky inspiration he lifted the door 
off its hinges and like a sledge hammer hit the first man 
straight down the stairs. There was a scuffle, help came 
from the street and their lives were saved. 

My brother always had a little gray donkey named 
Sally for me to ride and when a child I planned to 
keep house at “ Zilla Coa ” and live in the Carolina 
mountains with soft-voiced darkies to cook delectible corn- 
bread. Nobody can stay long in the South without loving it, 
that is the real South, and not a dreadful vulgar, winter re¬ 
sort. My mother began going to Charleston before the war 
and among my earliest recollections are the flower-bordered 
paths of the magnolia gardens, and the darkies sing¬ 
ing while they rowed or worked along the shore. She 
was adored by her five boys in a way I have never seen else¬ 
where. They had a protective feeling for her and yet obeyed 
her, even when grown up. She seemed to understand their 
business problems as well as music or painting. Mr. Carlisle 
when Secretary of the Treasury, said he would rather ask 
her advice than that of any man he knew. My brother Wil- 
lianTwhile in Washington talked over everything with her, 
but wrote in his letters very little, except what he felt was 
discreet to put upon paper — details of life which gave no 
clue to his responsibility or anxiety over the Gold Reserve, 
which she said, turned him into an old man. 

As this is the winding up of “ four generations ” I must 
add that to me the most appealing, the most human and 



I * 


Mary Alathea Curtis 








spontaneous of all the letters I have been obliged to look 
over, are those to my mother from her little boys at St. 
Paul’s Cheshire, Trinity and Yale College, and her own 
letters back again. They have not, however, as yet the 
antique flavor that would seem to warrant their inclusion 
here, neither do they bear upon anything of great impor¬ 
tance. The qualities of character and mind I value most 
come from my mother, but as my name and family pride 
come from my father, I feel that to him I owe the gathering 
up and tying together of these records which cover one 
hundred and thirty years. Here each one speaks again 
through what he has written. 


■■ . __ 

; i r; : ’ ;nc ^ ,«*< <** <* •**». 



(Delivered at the close of the Revolution — taken from 
the Newtown paper, Centennial of 1885.) 

Judge Edmond's Fourth of July Oration. 

Gentlemen, friends and fellow citizens: On a day dedi¬ 
cated to solemnize and perpetuate the memory of an event 
long wished for, purchased with much blood, with much 
treasure, with many a woe, and great and glorious, sur¬ 
rounded as I am with so numerous and respectable an audi¬ 
ence, when every eye is fixed upon me, upon a subject of so 
much importance, and unaccustomed to this kind of speak¬ 
ing, I must hope for your favorable consideration. At a 
period when the new born Empire of America, to her re¬ 
cent independence has added the friendship and alliance 
of neighboring nations, when the Almighty Governor of 
universal Nature has crowned our glorious struggles with 
freedom, independence and an honorable peace, let me be¬ 
speak your patience for a few moments, while I dwell on 
the worth of the object for which we have contended, the 
means by which, under heaven, it has been secured and the 
use and improvement we ought to make of the conquest. 

I shall not take up your time with a geographical de¬ 
scription of America the vast extent of territory, the fertility 
of the soil, its many navigable rivers, bays and harbors, the 
advantages of her commerce, the benefits of her fisheries, 
the rapid increase of population and wealth, which, so 
peculiarly situated as this country is, cannot fail to take 
place. These are circumstances too notorious to everyone 
to need any explanation. Nor shall I enter into the ques¬ 
tion what occasioned, what was the true cause, or who were 
agressors in the late War? But only observe that Heaven 
and the sword have decided in favor of America. 

The contest was for liberty, and in liberty, properly un¬ 
derstood, consists the beauty of Government, the happiness 
of individuals, and the glory and boast of man. The want of 



noi\tnO \o t knomV>5i »%Wv 

[ 7 7^J] 

adequate or just notions of Liberty has been the occasion of 
innumerable difficulties and disorders since the commence¬ 
ment of the war. For while some supposed that Liberty 
consisted in an unlimited, uncontrolled power of conduct 
according to the dictates of their capricious fancy without 
respect to the right of others, they naturally run into un¬ 
justifiable extravagances and licentiousness. But such a 
liberty ever was & ever will be opposed and detested by 
every generous mind. Some kind of law, government or 
order is absolutely necessary in every society to guard the 
weak and defenceless from the attacks of the strong, the 
savage and cruel, and ever will be so while human nature 
continues the same. All government is an actual infringe¬ 
ment on the natural liberty of man; that government, there¬ 
fore, is the most eligible which provides in the most effect¬ 
ual manner for the interest and happiness of every indi¬ 
vidual member of society, at the least expense of natural 
liberty. This, then, may be a just definition,— that true 
liberty consists in the natural liberty of man so far restrained 
and no farther, as is absolutely necessary for the benefit of 
society. Every further encroachment, however specious, in 
appearance or splendid the garb in which it is imposed, is 
the essence of tyranny. This liberty thus qualified and re¬ 
strained (and not a total exemption from all law, order, 
and good government as some have weakly imagined) is the 
grand object for which we have been contending. For which 
our bravest heroes, brethren, friends, and children, have 
drawn their swords, have fought, have bled, have bled, 
have died. To secure such a liberty, such a freedom and 
such an independence to ourselves, to posterity and to mil¬ 
lions yet unborn the virtuous sons of America rous’d to 
arms. To procure such a glorious freedom (and not to 
gratify a little selfish passion) they bid defiance to hunger, 
cold, and nakedness, prisons, goals, and torture and every 
other woe incident to war. 

To enumerate the various coincidences which have con¬ 
tributed to render their endeavors successful; to mention 


' :■ | n«,| 

] 2 • o 3' I nasd asrf tfisdiJ to anofoon }*oi no 5) B opobr 





1 / 7 * 5 ] 

the number of well-fought, blood stained battles where 
grisly death stalked hideous; to mention the generous as¬ 
sistance of our great and good allies, the unparalleled brav¬ 
ery of our soldiery or even to renumerate the names of those 
heroes who have contributed to this great event would far 
exceed the bounds I have prescribed to myself. But faith¬ 
ful history shall record these things and distant nations 
render the just tribute of praise. 

Permit me however in a cursory glance to remind you 
of the Battle of Lexington the 19th of April, 1775, anc ^ there 
let us trace the first footsteps of a rugged path. From thence 
let us pass to Bunker Hill on the 17th of the following June 
and see how many fall. From there on in January 1777 
let us pass to Princeton, from there to Saratoga September 
the 7th, from there let us return to Germantown, on the 
4th of October, and here let it ever be remembered that the 
brave sons of America, impatient and weary of a defensive 
war, made the first regular and offensive attack upon their 
cruel invaders. 

From there let us haste to Stillwater, Red Bank, Mon¬ 
mouth, Rhode Island, the cow pens and Guilford court 
house. At each of these places let us pause a moment, view 
the carnage, behold the struggles and be astonished at the 
bravery of our troops! All these are scenes of blood. Alas, 
the fate of war! Death takes his thousands and ten thou¬ 
sand mothers weep. Father of all, is this the lot of man to 
be his brother's butcher? But I haste from so disagreeable 
a subject. The calamities of war, however, when properly 
considered may serve to enhance the value of Peace and 
incline our hearts on this joyful occasion to gratitude to that 
supreme being who is justly styled the God of Peace. 

. The capture of General Burgoyne and his army on the 
17th of Oct. 1777 followed soon after by that of Lord Corn¬ 
wallis are events that will be read with astonishment by 
future ages in the chronicles of the American War, and it 
will justly be considered as a signal instance of the inter- 


bonifile boold ^r’^uol-lbv/ \o t^dmun arto 

bnB g^nidj ottdi bioom Hsci* yioJaui lol 



1 / 7 * 5 ] 

position of Divine Providence in inspiring the hearts of a 
rude and undisciplined army with a courage and magnani¬ 
mity unexampled in the records of time. 

We have a further manifestation of Divine aid, in that 
the Regent of Heaven has been pleased to raise up an unex¬ 
ceptionable leader, adorned with every virtue and every ac¬ 
complishment necessary for a man who was to undertake and 
complete the most virtuous task ever allotted a human being, 
to take a rude and undisciplined army unskilled in the art 
of war, unarmed, unclothed, unfed, unpaid, and scanty in 
numbers, and with that army encounter and conquer an 
army of veteran troops, superior in numbers, possessed of 
every advantage, and lead his little army through every 
toil, every difficulty and every danger to the summit of 
glory and victory and therewith establish a New Empire 
and then again unelated with prosperity, to retire to the 
calm and contemplative scenes of private life is what none 
but a Washington did ever perform. In this he stands 
alone unrivalled and unparalleled. 

And here while I am enumerating some few of the signal 
Providences of the Almighty, I might take notice of the 
detection of a conspiracy plotted by the most accomplished 
of villains, but I forbear to mention a name which must 
carry with it the idea of horror so long as there are men to 
distinguish beauty from deformity and to discern the dif¬ 
ference between virtue and vice. But I leave the hated, 
hated picture, and the detested man, to the friends of the 
daring but unfortunate Major Andre to deprecate his 
proper vengeance, only adding a sentence from the first 
writer in the world as applied to him in a late publication 
in the Connecticut Courant: “ Do not repent thee of these 
things, for they are heavier than all thy woe can stir; there¬ 
fore betake thee to nothing but despair. A thousand knees, 
ten thousand years together naked, fasting, on a. barren 
mountain and still Winter in storm perpetual could not 
move the Gods to look that way thou wert.” 



* n i qi 01 zro q rutxJ nsvssH io imgsK adt 

‘ : nni/^vs \ir/r jamob ^bsal slrff nohq'j) 

[/ 7 <? 5 ] 

Our other officers of far, far different character and 
those brave soldiers who have so nobly exerted themselves 
to bring about this great, this glorious and important event, 
highly merit our warmest approbation and applause, to 
deny it would be ingratitude. Nor ought we ever to forget 
the hardy race of heroe’s who in Winter’s freezing, shiv¬ 
ering blasts, in their tents, with woe-worn countenances have 
laid their wearied limbs with not a feather or covers did 
I say, not even a straw to ease their bruised limbs, upon the 
frost, and all this to purchase the liberty, the freedom, the 
Peace, the glorious Peace we this day enjoy, Nay, many, 
very many have sacrificed their lives to obtain the invalu¬ 
able purchase. To the memory of these, my friends, ’tis 
generous to drop a voluntary tear. Great was their love, 
their sufferings great! but I refrain. I pass them by. I 
would not cause their wounds to bleed afresh. The dole¬ 
ful tale must wound the ear of many a parent, must pierce 
the heart of many a matron, of many a tender virgin un¬ 
sluice the eye of woe and make humanity recoil. 

But dry your sorrows up my friends and let us see what 
peace accords. Peace abroad leaves room for happiness at 
home. But how is peace to be restored? The answer’s 
easy. Throw off all party spirit, forget old quarrels, bury 
little resentments, act like men, like rational creatures, like 
candidates for an hereafter. But, say some, we cannot for¬ 
get, we can’t, we won’t forgive; for why? Because they 
have been our inveterate enemies, have rejoiced at our mis¬ 
fortunes and have sought our lives. What then? the great¬ 
er the injury has been, the greater is the glory to forgive. 
If a man has strength and courage superior to his enemy 
he can conquer him; a brute can do the same with the same 
advantages. ’Tis a disposition to forgive (not revenge) 
an injury that shows a greatness of mind and distinguishes 
a man from a brute, and every man is truly great in pro¬ 
portion as he finds himself able and willing to subdue his 
passions, to curb his resentments and govern himself by 




[ %\\] J ILM L[ L 

**>* giSDrno 13/ljo luCJ 

Jag .oi f t iww iriguo ioH abwitmaai ad blutm ji *r,ab 


the Laws of Reason. Let us then, my friends, seriously 
consider these things. Let us learn to subdue our passions, 
to govern our resentments, to bear provocation like Christ¬ 
ians, like reasonable and accountable creatures, and let us 
take pattern by our great Example who, “ When he was 
reviled, reviled not again/’ and when tortured by his ene¬ 
mies said “ Father forgive them, for they know not what 
they do.” Such a temper and such a disposition would pro¬ 
mote harmony and peace among the inhabitants of this 
town, would add strength to the Legislature, restore a 
proper tone to government, establish regularity and order, 
do honor to religion, make us happier in this world and be 
no bar in our progress to another. 

Animated with such noble views inspired with such 
laudable motives, what might we not hope, what might we 
not expect, what even might we not shun and what blessings 
might we not hope to obtain. 

Let each of us then endeavor as soon as possible to sur¬ 
render up our contracted views and notions and learn to 
form our ideas on a more liberal and extended scale. Let 
us not consider ourselves merely as members of a farm, a 
town or a city, but as members of a rising Empire, as citi¬ 
zens of the world and as members of the family of Him of 
whom all the families of the earth are called. Finally, 
gentlemen, friends, and fellow citizens, let us ever keep 
in mind that great and glorious benediction, pronounced in 
the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, “ Blessed are the Peace¬ 
makers, for they shall be called the children of God,” and 
let us not only on this day of public joy and rejoicing but 
through all the remaining days and years of our lives en¬ 
deavor so to conduct ourselves that when the closing scenes 
of all sublunary enjoyments are at an end, when joy and 
festivity in this world are no more and Death, the King of 
Terrors, stares us in the face, we may be able, like valiant 
and victorious soldiers to joy in the Lord and rejoice in the 
God of our salvation. 


tkuoir* ^bnaiil yen ,nodj zu j->J .noaBsfl io oil l 

(Extract of letter about the Edmond family from one 
of the descendants to my father.) 

(Mr. Tweedy says there is not a particle of Irish Blood 
in the Edmonds. Robert Edmond's father and mother 
moved from Scotland into Ireland, where Robert was born. 
He hated the Irish, said they were, where he lived among 
them, like pigs, of the lowest grade. Mr. Tweedy said he 
had heard G. G. Robert Edmond relate this anecdote of 
himself: He was in Litchfield and a man called him an 
Irishman. He denied it and offered and did bet all the 
wine the company could drink that he was not, the bet was 
accepted. The man said he was born and lived in Ireland, 
consequently an Irishman. He admitted this but said his 
parents were Scots and moved there, and used this illus¬ 
tration: “ Suppose some sheep (Scots) were to be removed 
to another country and put in a pen with pigs (Irish) and 
a lamb should be born there to them, would that lamb be a 
pig?” The company decided that he was not an Irishman. 
I am sorry to destroy your prejudice in favor of the Irish 
to whom I have no partiality. I think the Scots superior to 
the Irish, although Dr. Johnson did not like them and they 
are said to be subject to a cutaneous disease that requires a 
good deal of scratching.) 


NEW YORK CITY, Jan. 28th, 1895 
My dear Mr. Curtis: 

I send you three bills, which if read aright, will tell 
the course of our market. The importers are selling all 
bills payable in gold — thus all loss resulting from the ces¬ 
sation of gold payments will fall upon our people. The 
feeling here is that the President will not get the desired 
relief, and that if he adheres to his idea as to the non-issue of 
existing (5s) bonds the end is at hand. Today began a run 


mi -1 M )[ J: i /J) 

.absiT! l23WoI aril \o adil t mariJ 


in small amounts — $72,728 in small lots — $5,000 or under, 
gold bonds 62,539 in addition; the banks are beginning a 
general run — I mean those who have heretofore abstained 

— we must have more gold from nearby points. San Fran¬ 
cisco is too risky. Our coin gold is reduced to $13,639,000 

— which we shall lose this week. One caution I desire to 
give as to a new loan. No interval must elapse before bids. 
If our gold is taken beforehand, & that it is certain to be — 
if the loan is offered for gold, we shall be bankrupt before 
we get any returns from the loan, & as before, we wont get 
it back if the offers are rejected. Another caution, if we are 
to wait (before another loan is put out) for legislation & it 
is held up for any cause — we are gone “ hook, bob & sink¬ 
er.” The withdrawals, now the “ run ” is on, will be 
“ short, sharp & decisive.” I enclose list for today to point 
out its character and to say that on searching the bank re¬ 
turns today I find that the banks are losing gold in small 
amounts as well. “ Forewarned is forearmed.” From 
your “ Cassandra.” (I add *) I would stop the gold bar 
privilege at 4 cents per hundred < 5 c charge an Fs — that is 
a game that has developed within the last week. Women, 
as well as men, are now on the “ gold path.” Try the tem¬ 
porary certificate — if you are going before Congress that 
they can be told leaves the matter in their control. This 
thing may degenerate or rise into a panic as you prefer. 


*$21,000 (odd.) of so-called jewelers have come in at 
five minutes of three — after this letter had closed — How 
tired you must be of